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Turncoats and True Believers: The Dynamics of Political Belief and Disillusionment

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Turncoats and True Believers probes the psychology and group dynamics underlying political beliefs.

The concepts of "left" and "right" are no longer adequate descriptions of the ideological landscape of our diverse world. Ted Goertzel uncovers the ideological scripts, which explain the complex roles played by political and cultural leaders who have shaped the modern world.

The personal events and social dynamics that lead people to become ...

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1992 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 428 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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Overview

Turncoats and True Believers probes the psychology and group dynamics underlying political beliefs.

The concepts of "left" and "right" are no longer adequate descriptions of the ideological landscape of our diverse world. Ted Goertzel uncovers the ideological scripts, which explain the complex roles played by political and cultural leaders who have shaped the modern world.

The personal events and social dynamics that lead people to become Utopians or Survivors, Hawks or Doves, Authoritarians or Protestors, Skeptics or Pragmatists are examples in biographical vignettes of such fascinating people as Bertrand Russell, Adolph Hitler, Linus Pauling, and Ayn Rand.

The lives of Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman illustrate how people with similar values can follow different scripts, one ending in tragedy - the other tranformation. The lives of Betty Friedan, Kate Millet, and Phyllis Schlafly show how different life scripts lead to varying approaches to women's issues. Goertzel also explores the bizarre fanaticism of Jim Jones, which led to the mass suicide of his followers at Jonestown.

From Fidel Castro to Woodrow Wilson, from Joseph Stalin to Leon Trotsky, from George Bush to Mikhail Gorbachev to Saddam Hussein - Turncoats and True Believers provides a new framework for understanding and evaluating the actions of our political leaders.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Famous people whose political convictions dominated their lives are examined by a Rutgers sociologist in brief psychobiographies, and are found to have shared childhood traumas, mostly attributable to poor parenting. Winston Churchill, a depressive personality when not swept up in action, adored an unresponsive mother; Bertrand Russell, whose parents' early deaths left him to the care of domineering women, escaped emotional instability in a passion for mathematics and social issues; Betty Friedan's mother was a nagging housewife whose model the feminist author rejected. Hitler, Ayn Rand, Gorbachev, Woodrow Wilson and others are examined on the author's couch. Each is classified by a ``script'' the author develops; they are Skeptics, Doves, Hawks, Utopians, Survivors, Protestors, Committed, Authoritarians or Pragmatists. The muddy lines between these slots are more confusing than clarifying. Though it is interesting to see the common threads, Goertzel's effort to provide a system for understanding the directions of these lives is unsatisfying. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879757557
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/1992
  • Pages: 428
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.45 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Acknowledgments 15
Ch. 1 Confessions of a Turncoat and Remembrance of a True Believer 17
Ch. 2 Ideologies as Life Scripts 36
Ch. 3 Survival and Commitment: Bertrand Russell and Woodrow Wilson 71
Ch. 4 The Dynamics of Skepticism: Auguste Comte and John Stuart Mill 90
Ch. 5 The Ideological Group 104
Ch. 6 The Utopians 126
Ch. 7 The Hawks 163
Ch. 8 The Doves 186
Ch. 9 Protestors and Authoritarians: Trotsky and Stalin 214
Ch. 10 The God that Failed: Mourning the Loss of Ideological Belief 224
Ch. 11 The Sixties: Failure of a Generation? 238
Ch. 12 Feminists and Antifeminists 266
Ch. 13 Linus Pauling: From Eminent Scientist to True Believer 294
Ch. 14 Holocaust and Genocide Revisionism: Skepticism as Denial 305
Ch. 15 Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution: Aging Narcissism and Unyielding Leninism 326
Ch. 16 Bush and Gorbachev: Visions of the Future or a Future without Vision? 352
Ch. 17 Conclusions 365
Notes 371
Index 413
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