Hitler : Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet

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F.C. Redlich, a psychiatrist and formerly Dean of Medicine at Yale Medical School, attempts to plumb the psychological depths of Adolph Hitler.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 466 pages
  • 157.48 x 228.6 x 33.02mm | 816.46g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195057821
  • 9780195057829

About Frederick C. Redlich

Fritz Redlich was born in Vienna in 1910 and received his medical doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1935. He was forced to emigrate to the United States in 1938. Currently, he is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of California at Los Angles, and formerly Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Dean, School of Medicine, Yale University.show more

Review Text

A study of Hitler's physical 'and psychological infirmities. There have been many attempts to explain Hitler's obsessive hatreds by pointing to his numerous supposed mental and bodily "abnormalities." Most of these efforts - sensationalistic or misguided - have been dismissed. But this work, the product of 12 years' research, shouldn't be. Born in Vienna in 1910, Redlich was chair of the department of psychiatry and dean of the school of medicine at Yale. And, in an ironic twist of history, he was completing his doctorate at the University of Vienna when Hitler himself was receiving treatment there (in 1938, the Anshluss ushered Redlich to the haven of America). Redlich defines his work as a "pathography": the study of an individual as influenced by a disease. But this may give undue weight to Hitler's illnesses; a "healthy" Hitler might well have committed the same atrocities. Part One appraises Hitler's life and medical history and the growth of Nazi Germany. Part Two provides a detailed medical and psychopathological profile. The latter is probably of greater interest to most readers. Redlich uncovers information concerning mental illness in the Hitler family and some evidence of amphetamine abuse. Central to his portrait is the so-called "degeneration hypothesis," in which Hitler's obsession about his own physical and sexual perversities was translated into a genocidal obsession with the Jews. This is arguably the most detailed examination in existence of Hitler's health, and readers may sometimes wonder if a discussion of Hitler's every malaise is indeed necessary to understand the dictator. A countering strength of the book, however, is the author's humility. In the end, Hitler emerges as a product of extraordinary physical and psychological pathologies. Not an original thesis, but an articulate addition to the literature. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

23 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 26% (6)
4 35% (8)
3 35% (8)
2 4% (1)
1 0% (0)
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