Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty is guided by a simple argument: that motherhood is the place in our culture where we lodge – or rather bury – the reality of our own conflicts, of psychic life, and what it means to be fully human. Mothers are the ultimate scapegoat for our personal and political failings, for everything that is wrong with the world, which becomes their task (unrealizable, of course) to repair. To the familiar claim that too much is asked of mothers – a long-standing feminist plaint – Rose adds a further dimension. She questions what we are doing when we ask mothers to carry the burden of everything that is hardest to contemplate about our society and ourselves.

By making mothers the objects of licensed cruelty, we blind ourselves to the world’s iniquities and shut down the portals … More

In this lovely collection of previously unpublished essays, the late, celebrated author and neurologist Sacks (The River of Consciousness) muses on his career, his youth, the mental health field, and much more. Readers will learn of influences that molded Sacks’s brilliant mind, from the cephalopod specimens at the Natural History Museum in London to the “visionary, mystical” 19th-century scientist Humphry Davy, whom Sacks dubs the “Poet of Chemistry.”

Of the many remarkable essays on medical conditions, “Travels with Lowell” stands out for its sensitivity and nuance, as Sacks … More

Born OTD in 1900, German-born American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist, Erich Fromm. Fromm sees right to the heart of our contradictory needs for community and for freedom like no other writer before or since. In Fear of Freedom, Fromm warns that the price of community is indeed high, and it is the individual who pays. Fascism and authoritarianism may seem like receding shadows for some, but are cruel realities for many.

“Escape from Freedom attempts to show, modern man still is anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of … More

Born OTD in 1859, American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform, John Dewey. More than six decades after John Dewey’s death, his political philosophy is undergoing a revival. With renewed interest in pragmatism and its implications for democracy in an age of mass communication, bureaucracy, and ever-increasing social complexities.

Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems, first published in 1927, remains vital to any discussion of today’s political issues. This … More