Kings, Conquerors, Psychopaths From Alexander to Hitler to the Corporation
by: Joseph N. Abraham
Right wing populists increasingly draw attention around the globe, but the attention is misdirected. The real problem is not the authoritarian, but the authoritarian personalities who follow him. If people do not blindly follow and obey the despot, he is irrelevant.
Why do we attach ourselves to demagogues and mountebanks? Why do we defend even their most obvious hypocrisies and lies?
The answer is found in the history of civilization. For the past 10,000 years, those who disagreed with the king or his nobles risked ruin and death.
But that is only part of the answer. The other part is that, despite our romantic traditions, kings and conquerors were vicious criminals. They represent the most evil psychopaths, narcissists, and sadists in the history of humanity.
As author Jon Ronson has suggested: “I’ve always believed society to be a fundamentally rational thing, but what if it wasn’t? . . . What if it was built on insanity?”
"It’s always easier to turn away from the horrors of history, but Abraham forces us to look, and look carefully. Using wide-ranging research and an unflinching eye for detail, he reminds us that it’s only through the stories of the past that we can understand where we’ve come from, what we’ve become, and how we can even hope to effect change."
—Candice Millard, New York Times best-selling author of The River of Doubt and the Edgar Award-winning Destiny of the Republic
"Dictators and political strongmen often fit the criteria for psychopathy. Abraham makes an insightful, novel argument based on both a keen clinical eye, and an exhaustive review of the literature, for understanding the historical and genetic roots of this problem, and why we should be aware of the potential dictators all around us."
—James Fallon, The Psychopath Inside
"A detailed and engaging examination of our haunted past and threatening future."
—John Mack Faragher, Howard R. Lamar Professor Emeritus, Yale University, Daniel Boone; A Great and Noble Scheme; and, The American Heritage Encyclopedia of American History
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joseph N. Abraham is a physician, a research biologist, and a life-long reader of serious history, with extensive academic training in French, art, and chemistry. He earned his BS from the University of Louisiana and his MD from Tulane University. Abraham previously authored Happiness: A Physician/Biologist Looks at Life (2000) and has published peer-reviewed articles in the field of evolutionary biology. He lives outside of Grand Coteau, Louisiana, with his wife and two children.
Publication date: September 18, 2018
Softcover, 328 pp., ©2018