Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

Madmen at the Helm

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The Arab Spring was a watershed in Arab history, which gave young protesters the impetus to challenge established and entrenched dictatorial regimes for the first time, and to demand democracy. In this unique book, Muriel Mirak-Weissbach reviews specialist literature and provides a profile of the personality disorder of narcissism displayed by five leaders (Mubarak, Qaddafi, Ben Ali, Saleh and Assad), together with the related syndromes of paranoia, hysteria, and sociopathy. She argues that the responses of these leaders to the challenges they faced indicate that they were psychologically incapable of facing reality, and indeed displayed pathological symptoms in clinging fanatically to power in the face of revolt. Mirak-Weissbach considers each of the five leaders in turn, examining their behavior during the upheavals as expressed in their public statements, speeches, interviews and courses of action. Thus she identifies patterns and similarities of behavior that serve to prove that the five 'stony-faced old men in power' displayed specific pathological personality types in their responses to the political and cultural circumstances in which they were operating. A postscript to the book widens this context by identifying two cases of narcissism in contemporary American politi: George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. This highly topical, accessible and relevant book provides a psycho-historical insight into the actions and responses of the deposed dictators, viewed from a unique clinical psychological perspective.
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247 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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