The Nazi and the Psychiatrist by Jack El-Hai
Hermann Goring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII

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While I found the premise of the book to be fascinating, I didn’t feel the narrative came together once the Nuremberg trials were over. This book could is actually more of a biography of Dr. Kelley than an account of his interaction with his infamous clients.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

In 1945, after his capture at the end of the Second World War, Hermann Göring 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 Göring in the detention center were the elite of the captured Nazi regime—Grand Admiral Dönitz; 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 Göring.

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 Göring. Evil had its charms.
 

About Jack El-Hai

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Jack El-Hai is a widely-published journalist who covers history, medicine, and science, and the author of the acclaimed book The Lobotomist. He is the winner of the June Roth Memorial Award for Medical Journalism, as well as fellowships and grants from the McKnight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the Center for Arts Criticism. He lives in Minneapolis.
 
Published September 10, 2013 by PublicAffairs. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Crime, War, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Nazi and the Psychiatrist
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Oct 21 2013

In this thoroughly engaging story of the jocular master war criminal and the driven, self-aware psychiatrist, El-Hai finds no simple binary.

Read Full Review of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by ManoflaBook.com on Oct 18 2013

While I found the premise of the book to be fascinating, I didn’t feel the narrative came together once the Nuremberg trials were over. This book could is actually more of a biography of Dr. Kelley than an account of his interaction with his infamous clients.

Read Full Review of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist... | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Fred Setterberg on Sep 07 2013

More evocative than the copious rendering of Kelley’s postwar life is the portrait of the Nazis awaiting trial.

Read Full Review of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Reader Rating for The Nazi and the Psychiatrist
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