Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Book of Dreams” as Want to Read:
A Book of Dreams
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Book of Dreams

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  270 ratings  ·  38 reviews
While the main focus of this autobiographical memoir is a tender father-son relationship, Peter Reich also provides an uncommon glimpse of enigmatic, controversial Wilhelm Reich at his 200 acre hilltop home in Maine as he strokes the skies with his Cloudbusters and suffers the indignation of seeing his Orgone Energy Accumulators destroyed. Reich’s books -- The Function of ...more
Paperback, 172 pages
Published April 28th 1989 by Plume (first published 1973)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Book of Dreams, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  270 ratings  ·  38 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jason Flynn
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Kate Bush and all things weird and wonderful.
I had forgotten all about this strange little book. I picked it up at a market in Sydney, having never heard of it. As I read, I thought "I've heard this story somewhere before...", and then, the next time I heard "Cloudbursting" by Kate Bush (one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite singers), it all fell into place. The seemingly nonsensical lyrics pretty much tell this boy's story word for word. His Dad was a demented scientist who developed a luminous but toxic paint, all taces of whi ...more
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Let's force this beautiful book back into print.
Aussiescribbler Aussiescribbler
In a tapestry of dream-like memories Peter Reich relates his experience of something which, when he wrote this book in 1973, he was still struggling to comprehend.

Peter Reich is the son of Wilhelm Reich, one of the most brilliant and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. He began as a student of Sigmund Freud, but, whereas Freud believed that sexual repression was necessary to provide the structure and driving force for civilisation, Reich believed that it was at the very heart, not o
Garrett Zecker
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
This book is truly a work of magic. I was not entirely sure what to expect when I picked this up and paid the most money I have ever paid for any used book - but I did know that there was something special about it because of the sheer amount of other works of art that used this text as an inspiration. The book is short, slim, and important, written by a man whose careers spanned journalism and child daycare according to the jacket. I am not sure what other creative writing Mr.Reich did prior to ...more
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Out-of-print for quite some time but available as an e-book.

Peter Reich recalls his childhood, living with his father, Wilhelm Reich, a controversial psychologist and scientist. He was also a student and contemporary of Freud.

I was fortunate enough to find this at a used book store for $1.50 :D
Rob Adey
I did psychology A-level before it was all glowing brains and no-one was making much of a pretence to know anything definitive about the mind, and we covered a whole bunch of theories that I'm guessing don't get a lot of class time today. Including Reich, who I remember pretty well because his whole thing was inventing a special magic box you could wank off and if you remember just one thing from your A-levels, it's going to be the magic wanking scientist (I got an 'E').

Anyway, I'm still keen to
Zoe Zuniga
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful memoirs ever. I wish the author had more info about himself and what he is up to now but the book is out of print and he has disappeared into anonymity. His sister does not seem to have written anything about their father or his work or how it affected her.
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book about one of the most misunderstood persons in history, as well as the victim of one of the worst examples of censorship in the United States. The relationship Wilhelm Reich shared with his son is both touching and eye-opening.
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
just beautiful. a dream of a book.
Anja Sheppard
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5/5

“‘Could you tell me,’ he asked, ‘who you are?’” (155)

“‘I’m Wilhelm Reich’s son.’” (168)

This is a curious book. It seems to have made the rounds in influential artistic circles a few decades ago, but never really into the mainstream public. I had trouble tracking a copy down, but after hearing that it was the inspiration for Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting (one of my favorite artists) I knew I had to. The story that unfolds is a strange, but touching homage to fathers and childhoods.

Peter Rei
Sophy H
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having been a Kate Bush fan for decades, I was drawn into reading this from knowing she used the book as inspiration for the song lyrics Cloudbusting (bloody love that song!! I still dream of Orgonon, I wake up crying, you're making rain and you're just in reach when you and sleep escape me......)

Wow wow wow! What a book. Peter Reich regales us with tales from his childhood spent largely with his doctor/psychologist/scientist/inventor/eccentric father Wilhelm Reich. The story is a strange and wi
Melinda Elizabeth
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Book of Dreams has strong ties to Kate Bush, and her song Cloudbusting. This song has been a part of my life since, well the beginning. The first few notes of the song warms me, and feels like home.

Inspiration for that wonderful song comes from Peter Reich's book. Peter recalls through a child's innocence, the experience of living with his father through his last few years, and the experience of losing his father to bureaucracy and ill health suddenly.

There's many a wretched passage in the b
Dominick Cericola
I remember by in the late 1980's, when Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting" (from her album 'Hounds of Love'). The song was inspired by this book, and a video also followed, in which Donald Sutherland played the late Wilhelm Reich and Bush was the 10-year-old Peter Reich. I was enamored with both Kate's music, as well as the artist herself, so I was taken in by it. I also made it a point to read the book, which at that time was difficult, as it had gone out-of-print.

So, jump to the present..

I found the bo
Daniel E
Dec 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rereadable
Peter Reich's narration of his childhood with his father, battling spaceships, and seeing his father carted off to prison for practicing Orgone therapy.

The writing was at times really amazing, I would give this book a rating of five, except that the part where he becomes an aimless hip twenty something in the 60s kind of detracts.

This is the book that Kate Bush wrote Cloudbusting about (see the video, it was shot by Terry Gilliam).
Rachel Jones
Aug 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
J & I just visited the Wilheim Reich museum in Rangeley, Maine. He was a trippy, kooky genius, way ahead of his time, whose life was destroyed by the government. Afterwards, I realized that the Kate Bush song "CloudBusting" was about Reich & his son, Peter. This is the book the song is based on.
Erik Graff
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wilhelm Reich fan
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Peter Reich was thirteen in 1957, when his father, Wilhelm, died in prison. This book is more about the son than the father, more about sons and fathers in general.
Holly Grigalunas
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm a big Kate Bush fan. That's the only reason to read this.
Chris Harris
A profoundly odd book, and more than a little bit disturbing. Reich's upbringing was permeated by his father's adherence to the Freudian school of psychoanalysis, and the experiences he relates sometimes veer into distinctly creepy territory.

Add a healthy dash of 50s cold-war paranoia, Albert Einstein (yes, really), flying saucers, and Reich senior's research into Orgone (a heady mix of prana, chi, animal magnetism, vril, and odic fluid) and you end up with a dreamlike tale that occasionally sk
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-17-to-19
Learned about this books existence via the Kate Bush song like apparently almost everyone. I think I was able to find it as a free ebook. Basically, it's what childhood is like if your father was a mad scientist. The reason I think people should read it is because it is actually a true story. And the father was involved in some actually, really rather questionable stuff... and it's from the point of view of the son mainly as a child. Good sort of sad poetic short read type of thing.
Rebecca Payne
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Found this book through Kate Bush fangirling - I know very little of Wilhelm Reich. Often reads like a dream journal but Peter's anguish comes through. On additional listens, “Cloudbusting” really captures his strange childhood and the love for his father - pairs well with the Book.
Tami Egonu
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A friend recommended another great book that I would have missed. A beautifully written memoir that flows with love, sadness, genius and so much more.
Natasha Kimstatsch
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A new life chapter for me as a person, artist and researcher
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an odd, haunting little book.

Written by the son of controversial scientist/psychologist/mystic Wilhelm Reich, it chronicles the author's attempts to honor and come to terms with his father's legacy. It's written in a unique, dream-like style, with flash-forwards, flashbacks, and dreams all mingling with his memories to form an impression of a brilliant, flawed man, whose ideas were far ahead of their time.

I picked the book up primarily because it was the basis for one of my favorite Kate
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
An interesting book about a lot of interesting subjects and topics. I've read a little about Orgone Energy in the past and after reading this book I want to look further into it. I definitely recommend reading this book, it's a short read, I got through it in a few reading sessions but it certainly gives you a lot to think about. For William Burroughs fans you've probably already heard about the Orgone Accumulators, it was where I first heard about them myself but I never knew about "A Book of D ...more
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Eh. I think I could've just continued to enjoy the magic of the baroque-pop Kate Bush song it inspired without having read the book itself. There are moments of genuine poetry in A Book of Dreams, owing to the substantial portion written from the perspective of a precocious kid. And the memoir also serves as a reminder that eccentric people with fringe/quack/pseudoscientific views can still be loving, devoted parents. That said, I found the story largely unremarkable, which is surprising given j ...more
Scott Conrad
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It is a real story written from the perspective of remembered childhood memories of real events. However it is difficult to know what is real and what is the authors childhood fantasy. In some ways it is perhaps a psychologically therapeutic read (depending upon your own childhood experience) I understand why Kate Bush found it so inspiring. I am really glad i sought out this book and read it.
Apr 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
so on the train this random man says to me "oh have you gone to reich's home in forest hills?" and i said "uhh... no" and ran away because male reich enthusiasts are fucking creepy. for all my interest in abnormal psychiatry [and abnormal psychiatrists] i'd be lying if i said i read this for any other reason than the kate bush song. i am lame that way.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is amazing. It has the eerie style of John Kennedy tool; there is something about the perspective of an adolescent youth that makes this story very profound.
Oct 26, 2007 marked it as to-read
Have had my interest sparked in this memoir and shall check it out...maybe after I must return Dorothy Parker to the library, though!!
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it
all about growing up reich. it whetted my appetite for more details about wilhelm itself. hmm, i guess i don't have much to say about this.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Meditation for the Love of It: Enjoying Your Own Deepest Experience
  • Wanderungen mit Robert Walser
  • Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton: An Autobiography
  • Social Psychology
  • Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby
  • The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year
  • Old World Witchcraft: Ancient Ways for Modern Days
  • Son of Oscar Wilde
  • 101 Things I Learned in Culinary School
  • The Basic Kafka
  • Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone
  • Kinski Uncut
  • The Movies, Mr. Griffith, And Me
  • The Forger: An Extraordinary Story of Survival in Wartime Berlin
  • The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales
  • The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky
  • Rookie Yearbook Three
  • Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr
See similar books…