This little book is an absorbing and intelligent, first stab at suggesting a 'hubris syndrome' theory of political rulers. As Lord Owen fully appreciates, much work has already been done on the subject of personality and politics. Books such as Laswell's 'Psychopathology and Politics',Greenstein's 'Personality and Politics'are examples I remember. Also, the Brewster Smith map of personality and politics, embodying the 'actor dispensability' factor, is helpful in identifying those decisions which are down solely or mainly to a given president or prime minister.
His assessments of Margaret Thatcher, George W Bush and Blair in terms of the development of hubris in each case are utterly convincing. More worringly, is that he posits that even where there may not be a predisposition to hubris, the longer a person holds the reins of political power the greater its development potential.
Focussing on the foibles of political leaders is, of course, fascinating, but in the case of the three aforementioned political leaders the absence of effective checks and balances (in particular, of enough gutsy MPs or members of Congress) gave them free rein. In fairness, Lord Owen clearly recognises this.
The only reason for withholding one star from this review is that this book represents a start in what may emerge as a cogent psycho-political theory. Can't wait for his follow-up book.