In1961ten years afterHunter enteredthe term"brainwashing"into Westernparlance-thefirst scholarlybooks presentingoriginalresearch onChinese Communist"brainwashing"werepublished. Thepresent reviewdeals withtwo of these works.In the first,a psychiatrist,Robert J. Lifton,2presentseleven detailedinterpretivecase studies fromhis study offorty personswhom we wouldcall "victims"and the Com-munists wouldcall "beneficiaries"of"thought reform."His cases in-cludetwenty-fiveEuropeansand Americanswho hadbeen imprisonedinRedChina and fifteenChinese who cameto Hong Kongafter experi-encing"thought reform."Lifton proceedsfrom these casesto psychologi-cal,historical, cultural,political,and philosophicalreflections onChinese"thought reform,"inparticular,and, more generally,on "thepsychologyof totalism,"onorganizedattemptsatre-educationandpersonchange, and on thenatureofthehealthy ego.
The secondbook, byEdgar H. Schein,a social psychologist,withsubordinate by-linesforInge Schneierand CurtisH.Barker,3alsoaimsat ageneraltreatmentof "brainwashing."On manyimportant ques-tions,itsfindingsand interpretations arehighly consistentwiththosepresentedby Lifton. LikeLifton, the authorsreview agreat deal of thepublishedandunpublishedmaterialon"brainwashing."Scheinandhisassociates alsopresent theirownmodelof"coercive persuasion."It con-ceivesoftheprocessinterms of"unfreezing,""changing,"and"re-freezing"forces. In a morefocusedandcatholic fashion than Lifton,they explorethe varioustheoreticalperspectivesfrom which otherwriters haveviewed thetopic.Theoriginalresearchthey report,how-ever,is limitedtoastudyoffifteenoftheAmericancivilianswho re-turned afterimprisonmentinRedChina.Inorientationandstyle,theScheinbook isalsoquitedifferentfrom Lifton's.Bothworksunderreview devoteconsiderable attention to theques-tionofhowvariouspracticesand institutions in the freeworldarelikeor unlikeChinese"thoughtreform."Possibly,thenature anddegreeofthesewriters'concern,as well asthenatureoftheanswersthey giveto suchquestions,are affectedbytheir owncommitmentstoinstitutionsoriented toproducingpersonalchange-Liftontopsycho-analyticallyorientedpsychiatry,Schein to the NationalTrainingLaboratoriesprogramatBethel,Maine.
RobertJ. Lifton, Thought ReformandthePsychology ofTotalism:AStudy of"Brainwashing"inChina,NewYork, Norton,
510 pp., $6.95.
EdgarH. ScheinwithIngeSchneierandCurtis H.Barker,CoercivePersuasion:ASocio-psychologicalAnalysis ofthe"Brainwashing" ofAmericanCivilianPrisonersbythe ChineseCommunists,NewYork, Norton,