When Andras Peto was published readers were asked to let us know what they thought of it, if they had enjoyed it and learnt from it.
One such review was sent to me this week by Rony Schenker. She has read it twice now, and felt the same as I did when I read the memories and descriptions included.
The accumulative impression that you get from reading the book with bated breath is one of the things that makes this book so special. It is as if you had the opportunity to watch Prof. Pető walking into a room where children were working, to hear him, to see him seating by his desk and writing, having a nice meal with friends, or talking eye to eye with his patients. So vivid the descriptions are. And then, what I know, what I saw with my own eyes, what I have learned through my own experience, informal learning and excessive readings and discussions with many and goods, and from my repeated visits to the Pető Institute (October 1987 was the first). And then, the fusion of all of this information, melting into a higher degree of coherence, or preferably, into a more coherent puzzle.
She also comments on the useful references it includes:
Currently, these are very good references for those who want to know, for those who think they know, and for those who should know what Conductive Education is and who was Professor Pető.
Thank you very much for your appreciative comments, Rony.
Another interesting review has been written by Susie Mallett and can be found at
Have you read it? If so, please send me or Andrew your thoughts. If not, you can obtain a copy by clicking on the cover of the book on the right-hand side of this blog.
The first review for András Pető appeared in The Budapest Times on Friday and this has now gone up on the newspapers website at:
The editor has made it a feature article with some pictures.
The review includes a brief account of the history of Conductive Education’s discovery by the West, particularly the UK and an overview of the book’s contents.
The editors of András Pető have produced a compilation consisting of memories of colleagues and others who knew him at different times, notes and letters written by Pető himself, obituaries following his death in 1967 and a selection of overviews. What emerges cannot – even in the editors’ opinion – be regarded as clear-cut or in any way final in terms of fully understanding Pető and his thinking. Nevertheless, certain themes shine through.
It was also very gratifying to read:
Its editors, who are also its compilers, should be congratulated for giving the wider world an opportunity to ponder about the enigma known as András Pető, who, without ever fully explaining how, positively affected the lives of thousands of people who otherwise were considered “hopeless cases”.
Copies of the book can be obtained by clicking on the link to CEP in the right hand column of this blog or from
Whilst in Hong Kong for the World Congress on Conductive Education in December 2009 it ocurred to me that the little that was known about András Pető was scattered around in various different places. Why not bring it all together in a book? For the last eighteen months we have been doing just that and along the way managed to get three previously unpublished papers and facsimiles of a exam booklet and poems by Pető for inclusion in the book. These were the icing on the cake!
Getting all this collected, edited and ready for publication took longer than expected and publication a fortnight ago of András Pető was a day of celebration for Conductive Education Press.
Copies of this are now being read and comments coming in. Yesterday Susie Mallett blogged her thoughts about it which can be read at
and says her favourite piece is the one by Júlia Dévai , which was specially written for the book. (Júlia also very kindly allowed us to reproduce the exam booklet and poems from her personal archive.) Her piece is my favourite too. It brings alive the time when Pető’s conductive pedagogy was slowly emerging, in great detail, a fascinating account.
I wonder what other readers of the book are deciding are their favourites.
This book, the first comprehensive overview of Conductive Education in English, was written mainly because Cottam and Sutton, as working academics, needed to publish a book. Regular publications such as journal articles and books are expected of those working in the world of academe. Both having recently come across Conductive Education, and considering it an important system for those with motor disorders, it was an obvious choice for both and resulted in this collaboration.
It was published in 1986, twenty three years ago and was consciously an ‘academic book’. The publisher, Croom Helm, was an adventurous young publishing house that would take on unlikely subjects in the expectation that some at least would be runners and accepted it straight away.
It was hoped that it would attract academic interest in the project proposed by the Birmingham Group and pre-dated the Foundation for Conductive Education by nearly 12 months. In the event Standing up for Joe ( the BBC TV documentary) created a wider interest and sales of the book rode on that. The proper academic interest never really took of, but lots of parents and practitioners bought the book (though it was not really directed to them).
Sales were good for an academic book of that kind and it went to three reprints in a couple of years. In 1988, Croom Helm asked whether the authors would permit a fourth, but they declined. Two years on into the project Cottam and Sutton already knew so much more about Conductive Education , so different from what all previous people had known, that they knew it to be not just out of date, but wrong in important respects.
To quote from the back of the book:
It describes the origins and development of Conductive Education in Hungary and its derivatives in Britain and elsewhere and how the system operates in practice. The difficulties of successfully applying Conductive Education outside Hungary are considered and discussed. The book includes a bibliography of all materials published in English on this topic and assesses both the prospects and limitations of Conductive Education.
It is divided into three parts with contributions from Andrew Sutton, Philippa Cottam, Jayne Titchener and Veronica Nanton.
Part one looks at the social-historical context and the practice as observed by Andrew Sutton.
Part two covers the practice outside Hungary and discusses the suitability of Conductive Education as an approach for the physically and mentally handicapped.
Part three looks at the problems and prospects in bringing it to the West and includes a chapter on Parkinson’s disease.
A bibliography of all relevant known publications is included and many of these are still referred to today.
It wasn’t widely reviewed. Academics tended to like it. professionals less so, but numbers were too small to generalise. Copies of these reviews are available in the National Library of Conductive Education.
This book is only one academic review of the whole phenomenon and is now over twenty years out of date, but holds a very important place in the development of knowledge about Conductive Education outside of Hungary.
Cottam, P. and Sutton, A., ed. (1986) Conductive Education; a system for overcoming motor disorder. London: Croom Helm.
Standing up for Joe BBC 1, April 1988.