Cover image for Leaders and their followers in a dangerous world : the psychology of political behavior
Leaders and their followers in a dangerous world : the psychology of political behavior
Post, Jerrold M.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
xvii, 302 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
9/11, the explosive force of personality and political behavior -- When personality affects political behavior -- The psychopolitics of illness in high office -- Terminal leadership, effects of mortal illness on political behavior -- The impact of crisis-induced stress on policy makers -- The mind of the terrorist -- The loss of enemies, fragmenting identities and ethnic/nationalist hatred in Eastern Europe -- Hate-mongering leaders in the former Yugoslavia:Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic -- Narcissism and the charismatic leader-follower relationship -- Fidel Castro, aging revolutionary leader of an aging revolution -- Saddam Hussein, "Saddam is Iraq, Iraq is Saddam" -- Kim Jong II of North Korea, in the shadow of his father -- Concluding observations.
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JC330.3 .P68 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"Post is a pioneer in the field of political-personality profiling. He may be the only psychiatrist who has specialized in the self-esteem problems of both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein."--The New Yorker "Policy specialists and academic scholars have long agreed that for U.S. leaders to deal effectively with other actors in the international arena, they need images of their adversaries. Leaders must try to see events, and, indeed, their own behavior, from the perspective of opponents. . . . Faulty images are a source of misperceptions and miscalculations that have often led to major errors in policy, avoidable catastrophes, and missed opportunities. History supplies all too many examples."--from the ForewordWhat impels leaders to lead and followers to follow? How did Osama bin Laden, the son of a multibillionaire construction magnate in Saudi Arabia, become the world's number-one terrorist? What are the psychological foundations of man's inhumanity to man, ethnic cleansing, and genocide? Jerrold M. Post contends that such questions can be answered only through an understanding of the psychological foundations of leader personality and political behavior.Post was founding director of the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior for the CIA. He developed the political personality profiles of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat for President Jimmy Carter's use at the Camp David talks and initiated the U.S. government's research program on the psychology of political terrorism. He was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit in 1979 for his leadership of the center.In this book, he draws on psychological and personality theories, as well as interviews with individual terrorists and those who have interacted with particular leaders, to discuss a range of issues: the effects of illness and age on a leader's political behavior; narcissism and the relationship between followers and a charismatic leader; the impact of crisis-induced stress on policymakers; the mind of the terrorist, with a consideration of "killing in the name of God"; and the need for enemies and the rise of ethnic conflict and terrorism in the post-Cold War environment. The leaders he discusses include Fidel Castro, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, and Slobodan Milosevic.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The crucial role of personality in shaping the political behavior of leaders of states and movements has been amply demonstrated in recent events, ranging from the Soviet demise to the 9/11 cataclysm and the Iraq war. In this seminal book, Post (psychiatry, George Washington Univ.) draws on his earlier publications to present a variety of psychological theories, models, and methods to explain the behavior of leaders in times of crisis. As Alexander George asserts in his foreword, it is necessary to reconsider the assumption that, in diplomacy and war, leaders in different cultural settings behave rationally. Hence, the imperative to develop profiles of leaders as Post does in this book, through an eclectic mix of psychocultural and historical approaches, in order to explain and even predict their behavior. Among the well-known leaders who appear in this book are Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Menachen Begin, Anwar al-Sadat, Kim Jong Il, Radovan Karadzic, Slobadan Milosevic, Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Yasser Arafat, King Hussein, Winston Churchill, Fidel Castro, and other lesser personages. Clearly, these essays are pioneering contributions and essential reading for leaders, policy makers, intelligence analysts, academic specialists, and the thinking public. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels. R. H. Dekmejian University of Southern California