Since the mid-1960s a truly original thinker, London psychotherapist Bill Howard, has been engaged in a private, part-time analysis of the culture, customs, habits and lifestyle of the North American people. Unique amongst contemporary studies of human relationships, Bill examines the full range of America’s social and interpersonal processes and proffers a candid, compassionate and uncompromisingly honest diagnosis of what he calls: " … the many self-engendered psychological difficulties and complexities that afflict American intimate interaction."

    With disarming simplicity, clarity and perspective Howard vividly explores and explodes the myths and distortions of American relationships. Drawing on incisive personal observation the author identifies an involuntary suppression of the American male's natural masculine instincts, urges and impulses, and isolates a cluster of unique forms of emotional instability, confusion, rage and conflict being endured by American couples since the end of the Civil War.

    In his new book Letter To America Howard asserts that America is a quagmire of sexual deceit, distortion, manipulation, fantasy and fear. To this lifetime student of America the truth is unquestionable; the people are psychologically and sexually shackled, hiding their real selves from the world, never totally involved, and either afraid to listen to their feelings or too frightened to feel at all. And, with the honest exchange of feelings now impossible, they are suffocating in a state of self-induced emotional paralysis, while no-one has the slightest idea how to go about solving the problem.

    Out of his unconquerable conviction that the American people will continue to lie buried under layers of emotional negativity and remain forever unable to confront the issue without ‘outside’ intervention, Howard has set out on a one-man crusade to smash what he interprets as America’s phoney, psycho-social veneer, to lance the boil of their poisoned relationships once and for all and put into effect a national recovery programme designed to provide American couples with a blueprint for extinguishing the vast psychological web that keeps their sexual impulses in check, for improving their understanding of each other and for reshaping their relationships the way they would wish them to be.

    This refreshingly honest volume would appear to achieve the goal of explaining the source of the distinctive emotional problems of contemporary America for the first time proper, and providing a bold answer for bringing lasting and beneficial change to the confused, detached and unfulfilled lives of its millions of citizens.

~ Indu Naipal

"Highly thought-provoking … Shows imagination and courage… Howard deserves to be taken very, VERY seriously… His robust common sense may be the first step towards restoring sanity to American relationships..."

~ Eileen Ho
"Pulling no punches, Bill Howard explains not only how Mr America lost his domestic freedom but how he can reclaim it! 'Letter to America', the devastatingly accurate, relationship masterpiece that is set to take all America by storm is the book for 21st Century American man… a must!"
~ Peter Lloyd-Reynolds

At last… America, always so hard to understand at a distance, is explained. By drawing on a huge range of empirical data a British psychoanalyst has disentangled the maze of American relationships to present an integrated overview of American mental life in simple, understandable prose. For me, Bill Howard’s brilliant new book Letter To America demystifies ‘the American experience’ and brings a deep and profound expansion of our understanding of that country’s values, attitudes and lifestyle characteristics.

    Focussing a white-hot searchlight on every facet of their unique lifestyle, the author boldly yet convincingly puts the pieces of the American puzzle together. It’s all here - the idiosyncracies, quirks and oddities of American life, their causes - and even a cure. Americans may act slick, casual and happily lavish their attention on materialism but we should not mistake their apparent composure and back-slapping congeniality for genuine ease. Nothing, in fact, could be further from the truth. The sad reality is that they are secretly plagued by self-destructive forces, stricken by a collective emotional anaesthesia. Americans’ lives are glowing with superficiality whilst their emotions lie frozen behind a collective mask of pretended happiness through materialism. Rigidly clinging to the safety of emotional estrangement, they are too frightened to experience passion, unwilling or unable to experience intense emotions or lose themselves in their sexual experiences.

    Howard’s well-argued postulate is that comparatively minor social imbalances have had momentous results, and created a society which has strayed so far from the path of natural human instinct it clutches at every esoteric straw in the wind. He convincingly asserts that despite its many flattering appearances the country is psychologically sick to its very core and, in example after example, this riveting volume certainly manages a credible account for virtually every unique feature of America's unique lifestyle characteristics.

    More importantly, in challenging many of our traditional preconceptions the author brings a broad and profound understanding to America’s complex social and intimate dynamics. Weaving diverse strands of its cultural manifestations into a distinctive tapestry, the origins and causes of America’s rampant inter-gender frictions are meticulously explained while their obsessions with sexual imagery, health, looking young, entertainment and materialism are interpreted in full and satisfying manner.

    Highly eclectic (behaviorism and feminism are expounded alongside female mud wrestlers and gangsters), nothing escapes the author’s eagle-eye as, with incisive and shrewd psychological observation, he accounts for practically every recognisable trait, mannerism, characteristic and cultural manifestation that identify America’s unique modes of behaviour and the social values, attitudes and beliefs that help shape them.

    All couples go through challenging times of course, but Americans, as we have come to know, more than most, and require a different approach to helping disengaged or unco-operative partners. After explaining how to move their unconscious feelings and thought patterns out of emotional anaesthesia and into awareness, Howard offers his American readers fresh insights into how to establish new relationships that are genuine and unaffected, and how to introduce greater freedom through fearless honesty into existing ones.
    He goes to pains to ensure the realization is driven home that the most important lesson is about ‘balance’, and gives practical advice to couples on how to avoid problems and hold each other accountable for their choices and actions without challenging episodes, how to avert power-struggles and ‘going-nowhere’ dialogues and how to re-invigorate their partnership by facilitating change through genuine solutions.

    This explosive page-turner may shock America to its core but it deserves the psychological world’s attention and, if America finds the courage to read it with an open mind, they will find it is much more than just about relationships; it shows how to cultivate courage and freedom in an increasingly hostile world. By bringing together many diverse elements Howard has created a masterful mosaic of the American psyche and, if he is right, his theory will surely cause a paradigm-shift in the principles of interpersonal psychology of tectonic proportions.

~ Jiang Chao

"This timely and lively-written landmark study successfully extrapolates the inner essence of the American psyche…"
~ Marcus Huxley
"Bill Howard says the unsayable - and that is what makes him right! 'Letter to America' is one small step for man, one giant leap for American men - and their partners…"
~ Nirmal Chaudhuri

LETTER TO AMERICA, psychoanalyst Bill Howard’s in-depth interpretation of America’s relationship problems, sex wars, social values, attitudes and behaviour may well prove to be the most important book ever written on the subject. Tempered by appropriate sensitivity this sometimes tersely-expressed account provides some profound insights into emotionally-stifled America; a land of more complicated secrets than could possibly have been imagined before now.

    In short, Howard claims to have isolated a 'collective emotional psychoneurosis', a specifically North American inter-gender dysfunctionality which afflicts all Americans throughout their lives! Americans, he asserts are, as a result of ‘cultural conditioning’, psychologically unwell, emotionally numb and sexually repressed. What's more, this saccharine-coated disorder has apparently been contaminating communication between American men and women for well over a century.

    First demolishing mountains of psychobabble and then driving a truck through America’s defensive behavioural veneer, new psychology-writer Howard then gently peels off layers of confusion, anxiety, repession and denial to reveal a deep-rooted sickness that he claims afflicts the collective American psyche. This is followed by a fascinating and logically-compelling analysis of the sexually-disempowered American male who apparently languishes in secret, rage-ridden, emotional anaesthesia, trapped in a psychological prison entirely of his own making. Howard convincingly explains the reasons for Mr America’s emotional paralysis, for his misunderstanding of masculinity and misinterpretation of his natural role, while the sexual connotations to skyscrapers, blondes, gangsters, guns, Showbiz, explosions and even going to the moon are conveyed with a depth of meaning not present in previous offerings.

    This debut book is a candid yet constructive critique of America which offers radical new insights with great simplicity of exposition. In all, the evidence points overwhelmingly to the fact of a massive psychological aberration; however, the author’s findings not only explain the causes and manifestations of the malaise but also include creative strategies for tackling relationship problems and dissolving barriers to happy and honest interaction. Howard shares his observations with the fervent hope that it will also force America to see itself from a more realistic perspective as he forthrightly challenges its people to rekindle long-frozen emotions and to discover their ‘true selves’.

    Each chapter offers great insight and clarification and, by the end of the book, Americans will certainly have had the most original and honest outsider’s view of their society ever! Though it does not fall within any single, recognisable category, this structured analysis should rock America to its very foundations - and, the author hopes, the beneficial reverberations felt by generations of Americans to come!

~ The Sunday Chronicle

Many wonderful advances in disease diagnosis and understanding have been made during the scientific and medical explosion of the 20th Century, yet an ever-growing body of evidence suggests that humanity is actually less happy and settled today - and certainly more neurotic - than previous generations. Some argue that a prime source of much emotional illness is America and, in submitting his identification of The American Neurosis and the social origins of such a disorder, Bill Howard contends that there is enough commonality between America's unique cultural features and acquired characteristics of the populace to suggest that they are derived from a single source of social maladjustment. He asserts that most elements of America's unique lifestyle are manifestations of this one condition.

   Howard claims that the malaise itself is a form of national contagion, ie. an emotional state with the tendency to spread and which has allowed unique environmental demand characteristics to come into play. It is fuelled by obscure contradictory forces which wreak emotional havoc and which are so far-reaching that a degree of intimacy in human communication has been lost. Americans, he claims, live lives boxed in by uncertainties of every kind. Emotionally estranged from each other, anxiety and conflict underlie their every thought, word and deed; cut off emotionally, they are lonely and emotionally bankrupt. Within their distorted perspectives they are rarely satisfied with their lives yet have little idea what they would like better, always feeling they are missing something but never quite sure what, always wanting to change but not knowing how.

   The neurosis has flourished only because of the unwillingness of people to confront it, to ask the hard questions. US Talk Shows make a pretence of offering help but do not ask the right questions either, so, having become immune from the demands of normal relationships, Americans now base theirs on assumptions and expectations which are completely wrong. Paralysed by emotional inertia they have little sense of how they would like to be different and engage in discussions about 'centering', 'self-nurturing', 'empowerment' which Howard dismisses as meaningless waffle. The constant deluge of new approaches and 'instant cures' for unhappy relationship advanced by America's legions of self-help gurus has not worked (because, according to Howard, America's psychology experts are just as sick as their clients!) while an increasingly desperate population constantly change everything but what they should. Their search is blurred by the lack of the very thing they seek: vision.

   Meanwhile, as their dissatisfactions and perceived deficiencies inevitably grow, the American people continue to push boundaries in search of an elusive something, the most visible result of which is their frenzied consumer culture, while domestically, mundane disagreements between partners yield disproportionately severe consequences leading to constant resentment and bitterness rather than honest understanding. Worse, by refusing to acknowledge their emotional sides to avoid the possibility of painful experiences they resort to 'faking it' (in and out of bed!) and, in so doing, have made a pallid mockery of genuine, honest social and sexual interaction.
While Americans constantly clamour for change Bill Howard believes that just waiting for change to happen brings nothing.    He claims that it has to be actively pursued, and has mapped out a strategy for first weaning them off emotional negativity and then helping them explore and develop their interpersonal capabilities to the maximum. He believes that despite many national, ethnic and cultural distinctions the laws of humanity are universal and Americans must be helped to master their essence. His aim is to bring a permanent solution to the interpersonal landscape by using new breakthrough techniques which will generate a renewed sense of hope throughout America and then provoke the momentum to help the people escape the relationship traps they have created for themselves.

   In this regard he has devised qualitative and quantitative therapeutic intervention strategies to first facilitate recovery from the condition and second, to enable Americans to listen more closely to their intuitive senses and feel the intensity of real emotion - to connect with the world and not just wander through life - so that they are able to find the courage to trust someone enough to be truly intimate, to make and keep relationships that are in harmony with each other's desires and demands and thus happy and fulfilling.

~ Ranjit Vethakhan