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The Sullivanians

Unabridged   14.75 hour(s)
Publication date: 06/20/2023

The Sullivanians

Sex, Psychotherapy, and the Wild Life of an American Commune

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Digital Download ISBN:9781696612630


The devolution of the Sullivan Institute, from psychoanalytic organization to insular, radical cult.

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Product Description

In the middle of the Ozzie and Harriet 1950s, the birth control pill became available and a maverick psychoanalytic institute, the Sullivan Institute for Research in Psychoanalysis, opened its doors in New York City. Its founders wanted to start a revolution, one grounded in ideals of creative expression, sexual liberation, and freedom from societal norms, and the revolution needed to begin at home. Dismantling the nuclear family would free kids from the repressive forces of their parents. The movement attracted many brilliant people as patients, including the painter Jackson Pollock and a swarm of other artists, the singer Judy Collins, and the dancer Lucinda Childs. By the 1960s, it had become an urban commune of hundreds of people, with patients living with other patients, leading a creative, polyamorous life.

By the mid-1970s, under the leadership of Saul Newton, it devolved from a radical communal experiment into an insular cult, with therapists controlling virtually every aspect of their patients' lives, from where they lived to how often they saw their children. Although the group was highly secretive, even after its dissolution in 1991, Alexander Stille has reconstructed the inner life of this hidden parallel world. Through countless interviews and personal papers, The Sullivanians reveals the story of a fallen utopia in the heart of New York City.


"A brilliantly written, sobering investigation of a secret society within plain sight." —Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

"The narrator’s voice and tone suited the subject matter of the book very well." —Carly Reviews It All

Author Bio

Alexander Stille is the author of Excellent Cadavers, Benevolence and Betrayal, The Future of the Past, The Sack of Rome, and The Force of Things. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and the New York Times.