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When Illness Strikes the Leader: The Dilemma of the Captive King Paperback – February 22, 1995

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The mental and physical health of world leaders are critical issues that are only beginning to receive serious public attention. All too frequently, leaders remain in power despite health problems that may diminish their capacity to govern. Cover-ups for incapacitated leaders have long been the rule for a variety of reasons, including the real and perceived importance of an existing leader, the workings of the inner court to limit damage control, and the fear of change if a new leader comes to power. Psychiatrist Post and political scientist Robins present numerous fascinating examples of how such diverse leaders as Winston Churchill, the Shah of Iran, Menachem Begin, the recent Soviet gerontocracy, Mao and Deng, and several American presidents have been so affected by health problems that they became dangers to their nations. Although cases of the American presidents are more thoroughly discussed in Robert Gilbert's excellent The Mortal Presidency ( LJ 11/15/92), this work is highly recommended for subject collections and large public libraries because of its readability, emphasis on non-American leaders, and analysis of health issues specifically applied to leadership settings.
- Karl He licher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Dr. Jerrold M. Post and Robert S. Robins explore the impact of physical and mental illness on political leadership.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Revised ed. edition (February 22, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300063148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300063141
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,733,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
When Illness Strikes the Leader: The Dilemma of the Captive King
by Professor Robert S. Robins and Dr. Jerrold Post M.D.

Who’s Really in Charge?

You can consider this a companion piece to the previously reviewed book, When Illness Goes Public: Celebrity Patients and How We Look at Medicine by Barron F Lerner. While that book viewed the public and private battles of well-known people, When Illness Strikes the Leader: The Dilemma of the Captive King takes a historical look at the how being a world leader doesn’t necessarily bring the best medical care. In fact, it can be a hazard to your health.

Why? Simple. Your health is not your own. Your health doesn’t just affect your friends and family but of your country and the course of history. While other books have concentrated on either the historical perspective or the health/medical perspective, this book has the unique combination of both a historian and medical doctor who give a complete analysis of both the political and medical aspects of how a leader’s illness and its consequences.

I had the fortune of reading this book when one of the major plot points of the TV show The West Wing pivoted upon keeping the public unaware of the United States’ President’s multiple sclerosis diagnosis. The politicians kept the secret while the doctor (his wife) wanted the best care for her husband. It’s an interesting dilemma where the treatment rests not on whether or not the patient can afford it but whether or not the nation in question can “afford” it. In most all instances, what the patient needed was secondary to what the nation needed.

Of course, there are instances where the leader’s impairment was obvious but because of how he held the power, nothing could be done about it.
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Format: Hardcover
As can be seen on other Amazon site, this book was co-authored, by Jerrold Post and by Robert Robins, not by Post alone. Also, why should it be priced at its high price when the same book can be purchased at a fraction of it?
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