Passion of Youth is an autobiographical reminiscence of Wilhelm Reich's childhood, adolescence and early manhood. Although it describes events from the early part of the twentieth century, Reich's voice is immediate and modern. His description of his childhood and puberty is the personal note in his work to recognize the sexuality of children and adolescents.
Passion of Youth provides a first person account of some historically significant times, the Great War 1914-1918, and Vienna 1918-1922. Wilhelm Reich was a very outspoken voice in the generation that shaped the rest of the century. The horrors of the first world war and the wretched economic and social conditions in Germany and Austria that were the war's bitter aftermath are palpable. This combined with the forcefulness and frankness of Reich's character, which the honesty of his memoir communicates, makes it clear why Reich chose a large social and scientific stage on which to work. Reich felt he had to change the world, because without change, the outcome would be too horrifying. And he was right.
Reich was a brilliant and truthful observer. Passion of Youth is a portrait of a young man creating, out of deep personal tragedy, a life of tremendous accomplishment. It is also a powerfully moving portrait of the moment in time that created the opportunity and shaped the outcome.