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DayTimers Series: Joel Dimsdale, Anatomy of Malice: the Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals

Thursday, February 16, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

$5 – $8

Author and Professor Joel Dimsdale, Anatomy of Malice: the Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals

Author Lecture + Book Signing

In this gripping and haunting narrative, a renowned psychiatrist sheds new light on the psychology of the war criminals at Nuremberg

When the ashes had settled after World War II and the Allies convened an international war crimes trial in Nuremberg, a psychiatrist, Douglas Kelley, and a psychologist, Gustave Gilbert, tried to fathom the psychology of the Nazi leaders, using extensive psychiatric interviews, IQ tests, and Rorschach inkblot tests. Never before or since has there been such a detailed study of governmental leaders who orchestrated mass killings.

Before the war crimes trial began, it was self-evident to most people that the Nazi leaders were demonic maniacs. But when the interviews and psychological tests were completed, the answer was no longer so clear. The findings were so disconcerting that portions of the data were hidden away for decades and the research became a topic for vituperative disputes. Gilbert thought that the war criminals’ malice stemmed from depraved psychopathology. Kelley viewed them as morally flawed, ordinary men who were creatures of their environment. Who was right?

Drawing on his decades of experience as a psychiatrist and the dramatic advances within psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience since Nuremberg, Joel E. Dimsdale looks anew at the findings and examines in detail four of the war criminals, Robert Ley, Hermann Göring, Julius Streicher, and Rudolf Hess. Using increasingly precise diagnostic tools, he discovers a remarkably broad spectrum of pathology. Anatomy of Malice takes us on a complex and troubling quest to make sense of the most extreme evil.

Dr. Dimsdale is the author of >500 publications and is the author of Anatomy of Malice: Psychological Examination of the Nuremberg War Criminals, Yale University Press (forthcoming spring, 2016). He obtained his BA degree in biology from Carleton College and then his MA in sociology and MD degree from Stanford University. He obtained his psychiatric training at Massachusetts General Hospital and then completed a fellowship in psychobiology at the New England Regional Primate Center. He was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School from 1976 until 1985, when he moved to University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Dimsdale is Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor in the department of psychiatry at UCSD. His clinical subspecialty is consultation psychiatry and his research focuses on stress, sleep, and quality of life. He is a former career awardee of the American Heart Association, and is past-president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, the American Psychosomatic Society, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. He is on numerous editorial boards, including editor-at-large Journal Psychosomatic Research, is editor-in-chief emeritus of Psychosomatic Medicine, and is a previous guest editor of Circulation. He has been a consultant to the President’s Commission on Mental Health, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academies of Science, NASA, and NIH. He was a member of the DSM5 taskforce and chaired the workgroup studying somatic symptom disorders.

DayTimers monthly programs are open to the whole community. Please RSVP below at least one week in advance or to Program Director Ilene Tatro at itatro@cbisd.org, 858 900-2516. Fee: $5 with RSVP, $8 without RSVP.


Thursday, February 16, 2017
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
$5 – $8
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Beth Israel
9001 Towne Centre Drive
San Diego, CA 92122 United States
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858 535 1111