Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Book Review: 'The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing' by Damion Searls

✰✰✰½ The inkblots are famous. Seen in advertising, print, and popular movies, it seems that just about everyone has heard of the Rorschach test. The test, created in 1921 to study thought disorder, was the brainchild of psychiatrist, Hermann Rorschach. Little was known about the fascinating man behind the test, until Damion Searls took the time to research both the biography of the man and the history of the test.

Rorschach was born of poverty in Switzerland in 1884. He would grow up to be intelligent, innovative, handsome, and driven. In his brief life, he accomplished more than most do in 80 years. Rorschach died shortly after creating his one-of-a-kind test. At the time Rorschach could not have forseen the impact his test would have on everything from college admissions to screening military soldiers. His test still influences the field of psychology even today.

The Bottom Line: This book is like two books in one: a biography of Hermann Rorschach and a history of the Rorschach test. I found the information about Herman Rorschach to be fascinating especially because he died in the prime of his life. Nevertheless, this was a slow read. Recommended for academic libraries serving both undergraduate and graduate students in psychology. Public libraries also serving college communities may consider purchasing as well. Note: This review was based on an uncorrected proof copy and the color plates were not included. 

Details: The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing by Damion Searls. Uncorrected proof copy published by Crown in 2017. 416 p. ISBN:  978-0-8041-3654-9  NOTE: I received a free galley copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewers Program at LibraryThing. 

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