A Brotherhood of Tyrants: Manic Depression and Absolute Power

Overview

Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin were three tyrants, and the effects of their brutal regimes are still with us. Each attained absolute power, and misused it in a gargantuan fashion, leaving in his wake a trail of hatred, devastation, and death.

In A Brotherhood of Tyrants, D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb uncover manic depression as a hidden cause of dictatorship, war, and mass killing. In comparing these three tyrants, they describe a number of behavioral ...

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1994 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 219 p. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is ... necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Amherst, New York, U.S.A. 1994 Hardcover New 0879758880. FLAWLESS COPY, PRISTINE, NEVER OPENED--219 pages----DESCRIPTION: Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin ... were three tyrants, the effects of whose brutal regimes are still with us. Each attained absolute power, and misused it in a gargantuan fashion, leaving in his wake a trail of hatred, devastation, and death. This remarkable study, while it examines the private and public lives of these three megalomaniacal leaders, is neither history nor biography. Rather, it takes the reader into the terra incognita of relationships between the strange lives of Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin and the ferocious, bizarre political systems they established. In A Brotherhood of Tyrants, D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb uncover manic depression as a hidden cause of dictatorship, war, and mass killing. Comparing Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin, they describe a number of behavioral similarities supporting the contention that a specific psychiatric disorder-manic Read more Show Less

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Overview

Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin were three tyrants, and the effects of their brutal regimes are still with us. Each attained absolute power, and misused it in a gargantuan fashion, leaving in his wake a trail of hatred, devastation, and death.

In A Brotherhood of Tyrants, D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb uncover manic depression as a hidden cause of dictatorship, war, and mass killing. In comparing these three tyrants, they describe a number of behavioral similarities supporting the contention that a specific psychiatric disorder - manic depression - can be one of the key factors in such political pathologies as tyranny and terrorism.

Manic depressive disorder has also produced the great destroyers in history - when in addition to ambition and egotism have been added large measures of ruthlessness, willfulness, utter intolerance of criticism, a consuming need to dominate others, paranoia, and megalomania.

Focusing on these three dictators, A Brotherhood of Tyrants argues that manic depression has always been, and continues to be, a critical factor in compelling some individuals to seek political power and to become tyrants. It powerfully demonstrates how this disorder is the source of many of the typical characteristics - including grandiosity and megalomania - of a tyrannical personality and provides a manual for the identification of the psychotic tyrant.

In their epilogue, the authors outline the clinical signs of manic depression as described in the classic studies of the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926). They apply these clinical signs and symptoms to the pathologies of four notorious mass killers of recent times: David Koresh, Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, and Colin Ferguson. They argue that if these individuals had been identified in time as manic depressives, they could have been successfully treated, and hundreds of innocent lives could have been saved.

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Editorial Reviews

William Beatty
Having already weighed in on mental health and creativity in "The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life" (1988), Hershman and Lieb move on to the mental health of three famous dictators. Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin all manifested elements of mania and depression from their earliest years, the pair avers. They draw on a variety of literature--some of it well known, some dating from a century or longer ago, some coming from the medical literature--to support their arguments as, presenting their subjects' lives chronologically, they emphasize incidents that fit the manic-depressive pattern. Although some of these events are common knowledge, others are not, and it is the latter that add special weight to the book's thesis. Hershman and Lieb then turn from biographical incidents to concentrate on particular elements of character and personality that serve to underline some of their points. An epilogue, which seems out of place, deals briefly with contemporary mass killers of considerably lesser impact--David Koresh, Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, and Colin Ferguson.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879758882
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.72 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2004

    pop psychology at it's finest

    Hershman and Lieb combine a disneyesque sense of morality with the literary talents of a fourth grader to bring you an original and good idea gone sour. The references used in the book are taken out of context and abused. they conclude that mania and depression are caused by external circumstances and/or at the will of the individual which couldn't be further from the truth. This book will only further the misunderstanding of a frequently misunderstood disease and as a manic-depressive I am offended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2003

    An interesting view of history

    This book provides a new perspective with which to examine some of history's most notorious leaders. I agree that Hitler and Napoleon seemed to exhibit symptoms of mania, though I'm not sure about Stalin. I'd say in general, many leaders throughout history may have been manic or hypomanic. George Custer and Alexander the Great, for example. An entertaining and somewhat controversial read.

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