Hitler : Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet

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Adolf Hitler unleashed a nightmare of terror in Europe that changed the course of history and forever altered our conception of human nature. To begin to understand Hitler, this biography provides the an analysis of him by a trained medical doctor and practicing psychiatrist. However, the biography also focuses on other aspects of Hitler's life beyond medical and psychological detail. Fritz Redlich, MD, provides a full-length biography of Hitler, focusing especially on his medical and mental history and showing readers precisely how Hitler's physical and mental health influenced his beliefs and behaviour. Redlich engages the reader with such questions as: was there a history of mental illness in Hitler's family?; did he suffer from congenital abnormalities?; did he contract syphilis as a young man?; what bizarre role did that disease play in his anti-Semitism?; what is the history of Hitler's amphetamine abuse?; and, did he suffer from Parkinson's disease? Redlich provides much detail and possibility in answering these questions while simultaneously uncovering little-known facts about Hitler's rise to power.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 466 pages
  • 154 x 232 x 33mm | 662g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • illustrations facsimiles, geneal. table, portraits
  • 0195136314
  • 9780195136319

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

Table of contents

Preface. Acknowledgments. I. Hitler's Life from Birth to Death. 1: Family and Childhood. 2: Vienna. 3: To Munich and World War I. 4: Entry into Politics. 5: Ascent to Power. 6: Furher and Chancellor. 7: Warlord. II. Review, Comments, and Interpretations. 8: Medical Review. 9: A Psychopathological Profile. Epilogue. Appendix 1: Chronology of Hitler's Illnesses and Treatments. Appendix 2: Hitler's Extended Family. Appendix 3: Glossary of Medical Terms. Appendix 4: List of Significant Medications. Appendix 5: Significant Laboratory Reports. Appendix 6: Electrocardiographic Reports and Recommendations. Appendix 7: Eye Examinations. Appendix 8Autopsy Report. Notes. Indexshow more

About Fritz 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

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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