The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

About the Book

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More than two dozen psychiatrists and psychologists (and one author, myself) offer our consensus view that Trump's mental state presents a clear and present danger to our nation and individual well-being. Published during the 2017 presidential campaign, the book was initially controversial but became a bestseller.

Since the start of Donald Trump’s presidential run, one question quietly but urgently permeated the observations of concerned citizens: What is wrong with him? Constrained by the American Psychiatric Association’s “Goldwater rule,” which inhibits mental health professionals from diagnosing public figures they have not personally examined, many of those qualified to answer this question have shied away from discussing the issue at all. The public was thus left to wonder whether he is mad, bad, or both.

In THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP, these vastly experienced mental health experts argue that, in Mr. Trump’s case, their moral and civic “duty to warn” supersedes professional neutrality. They explore Trump’s symptoms and potentially relevant diagnoses to find a complex and dangerously disturbed man.

Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword, for instance, explain Trump’s impulsivity in terms of “unbridled and extreme present hedonism.” Craig Malkin writes on pathological narcissism and politics as a lethal mix. Gail Sheehy, on a lack of trust that exceeds paranoia. Lance Dodes, on sociopathy.

Robert Jay Lifton, on the “malignant normality” that can spread its infirmity into everyday life if psychiatrists do not speak up.  From the trauma people have experienced by being targeted out-groups under the Trump administration to the cult-like characteristics of his followers, he has created unprecedented mental health consequences across our nation and beyond.

praise for the dangerous case

"This is an historic work in the history of American psychiatry. We have never been in this place before." —Lawrence O'Donnell

"There will not be a book published this fall more urgent, important, or controversial than The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump...profound, illuminating and discomforting" —Bill Moyers

"The stand these psychiatrists are taking takes courage, and their conclusions are compelling." —The Washington Post

“A very thoughtful assessment based on lots of public data, which gives us a very clear way of thinking about the terrific vulnerabilities of our current president that elicits a duty to warn.” - Samuel Barondes, Professor Emeritus and Former Chair of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco

“This insightful collection … is a valuable primary source documenting the critical turning point when American psychiatry reassessed the ethics of restraining commentary on the mental health of public officials in light of the ‘duty to warn’ of imminent danger.” - Estelle Freedman, the Robinson Professor in U.S. History at Stanford University