The Nazi and the Psychiatrist

Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781610391573

USD: $2.99  /  CAD: $3.99

ON SALE: September 10th 2013

Genre: Nonfiction / History / Military / World War Ii


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In 1945, after his capture at the end of the Second World War, Hermann Gög arrived at an American-run detention center in war-torn Luxembourg, accompanied by sixteen suitcases and a red hatbox. The suitcases contained all manner of paraphernalia: medals, gems, two cigar cutters, silk underwear, a hot water bottle, and the equivalent of 1 million in cash. Hidden in a coffee can, a set of brass vials housed glass capsules containing a clear liquid and a white precipitate: potassium cyanide. Joining Gög in the detention center were the elite of the captured Nazi regime — Grand Admiral Döz; armed forces commander Wilhelm Keitel and his deputy Alfred Jodl; the mentally unstable Robert Ley; the suicidal Hans Frank; the pornographic propagandist Julius Streicher — fifty-two senior Nazis in all, of whom the dominant figure was Gög.

To ensure that the villainous captives were fit for trial at Nuremberg, the US army sent an ambitious army psychiatrist, Captain Douglas M. Kelley, to supervise their mental well-being during their detention. Kelley realized he was being offered the professional opportunity of a lifetime: to discover a distinguishing trait among these arch-criminals that would mark them as psychologically different from the rest of humanity. So began a remarkable relationship between Kelley and his captors, told here for the first time with unique access to Kelley’s long-hidden papers and medical records.

Kelley’s was a hazardous quest, dangerous because against all his expectations he began to appreciate and understand some of the Nazi captives, none more so than the former Reichsmarshall, Hermann Gög. Evil had its charms.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


“Ace reportage on the unique relationship between a prison physician and one of the Third Reich's highest ranking officials…. El-Hai's gripping account turns a chilling page in American history and provides an unsettling meditation on the machinations of evil.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Journalist El-Hai's haunting historical account raises questions about the human capacity to cause harm.... In this thoroughly engaging story of the jocular master war criminal and the driven, self-aware psychiatrist, El-Hai finds no simple binary."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Well researched and well written”—Library Journal

"Jack El-Hai's biography of Army psychiatrist Douglas Kelley provides a riveting look at the top Nazis awaiting trial — and reveals the dangerous power of intimacy with evil."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

"If you liked Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt, try The Nazi and the Psychiatrist by Jack El-Hai."—Psychology Today

"With full access to Kelley's notes on Nazi psychology, El-Hai infuses his story with the messy, compelling details of people's lives. These tug the reader inside Kelley's head for an engrossing exploration of human nature, sanity and despair."—Science News
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