Long after Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud have died, arguments still rage between their followers about who was right and who was wrong. Some have moved on and updated and adapted the beliefs of these two intellectual giants but the fact that their views remain the subject of heated debate shows the importance of the two men's respective roles. Frank McLynn has bravely attempted to unravel the complex ideas of Jung, the great Swiss psychologist; a difficult task given that he was an infuriatingly complex writer. McLynn has tried to make this biography accessible to the interested layman and largely succeeds, with lucid explanations of the main tenets of Jung's psychological credo. Sometimes even he has to admit defeat when an explanation of Jung at his most dense becomes an exercise in wading through fast-setting glue. But what urges the reader to persevere, with considerable help from a good dictionary, is McLynn's insight into the man behind the public image. In his early years, Jung first came to prominence with his treatment of schizophrenics. He had a personal interest in this illness because he felt he might fall victim to it. His unstable and domineering mother had what he came to call personalities 1 and 2. The former represented science and empiricism, the latter showed the artistic and mystical aspect of one's character. Jung believed these two personalities had to be unified. He feared that in his case, as with his mother, No 1 was in danger of taking over and creating a dangerous imbalance. When he enrolled as a medical student at the University of Basle in 1895, aged 20, he worked to bring about a synthesis of the two personalities. His mother and cousin Helene Preiswerk considered themselves psychic and it was at their seances, that he began to wonder what lay hidden and undiscovered in the uncharted realms of the mind. After graduating, he joined the staff of the Burgholzli mental hospital in Zurich. Its draconian director Eugen Bleuler demanded complete dedication from all his staff and the spartan, teetotal regime was not to Jung's liking. However, he learned a great deal from Bleuler and it was here he got his grounding as an analyst. Although schizophrenia was thought by many analysts to be irreversible, Jung had some success. Where patients had multiple personalities, he tried to isolate one of the voices and to explore the unconscious through a method of word association. He did not meet Freud, 19 years his senior, until March 1907 on a visit to Vienna. They talked continuously for 13 hours. Freud was already facing sceptics in his professional circle who denied the existence of the subconscious. Freud saw Jung as his strongest ally and ultimate successor. Until 1909 they enjoyed what McLynn refers to as a 'honeymoon period'. There was some conflict that year when they travelled together to the US to receive honorary degrees but the divisions did not become serious until 1911. Freud was growing concerned with Jung's interest in mysticism and his desire to link psychoanalysis with Christianity. Jung had misgivings about the pan-sexualism which Freud used to explain neurosis. He was particularly critical of Freud's concept of infantile sexuality. Jung was moving away from the idea of the sub-conscious towards what he would term the collective unconscious. When the final split came in November 1912, it was acrimonious. They were never to meet again and Jung resigned from the International Psychoanalytic Society. McLynn says: 'The mutual hatred felt by Jung and Freud did very great damage to the progress of depth psychology. It has to be conceded that it was Jung rather than Freud, who over the years, kept the pot boiling.' By now, Jung had left the Burgholzli and set up his own private practice, thanks to the family fortune of his wife Emma. He gradually phased out his schizophrenic patients to concentrate on the treatment of neurosis among the middle-aged. Between 1913 and 1918, he teetered on the edge of insanity and was saved by one of his many mistresses, Toni Wolff, at great cost to her own emotional equilibrium. Psychosis and suicide were common among his colleagues. This was hardly surprising, given their pioneering work in tearing away the layers of repression and plumbing the depths of patients' and their own unconscious. After his recovery, he renewed a punishing schedule of work, dividing his time between writing and patients, with whom he could be brusque. His primary aim was to make his patients face reality. As McLynn writes: 'The true task of psychotherapy and all other Jung-inspired journeys was to find the self - that level of the unconscious where the individual consciousness merged with the psyche, as a river flowing into a mighty ocean.' His therapy looked simple but it could be dangerous. Some former patients killed themselves. 'Jung always emphasised that frightening material came out of the unconscious and that it could overwhelm and destroy the conscious.' When he decided patients were not co-operating, he bluntly told them so. He called one paying customer (and they paid a lot) a 'slimy bastard' and told another to 'stop buggering about and wasting my time'. Despite his irascible nature, people kept coming to see him, many of them rich and famous. Even Hitler's doctor asked him to have a session with the Fuhrer, an invitation which Jung declined. Jung continued with his consultations late into his 70s. He died in 1961, aged 85. At his best Jung was a prophet, but even in his finest hours, he could not leave a good idea alone. His development of types - the 'extravert' and 'introvert' personalities - showed a genius at work. But he would then qualify his initial argument, embellish it and complicate matters. 'It was typical of him to muddy the waters so that a good argument became dissolved in a bad one,' McLynn writes. His later studies of synchronicity (coincidences) prompted one critic to remark: 'Even the most sympathetic reader feels inclined to believe that Jung could conjure up reasons for anything he wanted to prove.' The charges of anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism have some truth although in part it was bad judgment that led many people to see him as a follower of National Socialism. Privately, he was a philanderer to the point of promiscuity. He blamed this on his 'mother complex'. McLynn believes that when his wife died in 1955, 'in his secret heart he surely knew that he had destroyed both her life and that of Toni Wolff as thoroughly as it was possible for a human to do'. He was cold to his children and had such violent mood swings that he never kept a male friend for long before offending and alienating him. He had more success with his female friends and disciples although even here he could lose control, on one occasion throwing a female analyst down some stairs. McLynn's chief virtue as a biographer of such a complicated man is his wry sense of humour. He weighs up Jung's strengths and weaknesses and the picture he presents is of someone obsessed with his own ego and destiny, an arrogant, domestic tyrant who put his wife through hell but an analyst who in his own field, was second to none.