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Listen, Little Man!Listen, Little Man!

Illustrated by William Steig

Paperback $15.00

Original Publication: Orgone Institute Press 1948

Banned from circulation by U.S. Federal Court order 1954

Burned under FDA supervision 1956 and 1960

Re-published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1965


"They call you Little Man, or Common Man. They say your day has dawned, the 'Age of the Common Man.' You don't say that, little man. They do, the vice president of great nations, the labor leaders, the repentant sons of the bourgeoisie, the statesmen and philosophers. They give you the future, but they ask no questions about your past. You've inherited a terrible past. Your heritage is a burning diamond in your hand. That's what I have to tell you."

       Wilhelm Reich, M.D.,
       (opening paragraph of Listen, Little Man!)

This is a human, not a scientific document. It was written in the summer of 1946 for the Archives of the Orgone Institute, although there are indications in the Archives that the manuscript evolved between 1943 and 1946. At the time Reich had no intention of publishing it. This work reflects the inner turmoil of a research physician and scientist who had observed the little man for many years and seen, first with astonishment and then with horror, what he does to himself.

Reich's appeal to the little, average man was a silent response to the gossip and slander that plagued his career. His decision to publish this manuscript was made in 1947 during a concerted effort by various professional organizations and the U.S.. Food and Drug Administration to destroy orgone energy research--not to prove it unsound, but to destroy it by defamation. Reich's sharp criticism combines with an abiding confidence in the "tremendous unmined treasures" that lie in the depths of human nature, ready to be utilized for the fulfillment of human hopes.

Listen, Little Man! is illustrated with expressive drawings from cartoonist and author William Steig, a friend and supporter of Reich's, best known today as the author of Shrek, upon which the hit films were based.

Read an excerpt [PDF]



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