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The Medical Casebook of Adolf Hitler: His Illnesses, Doctors and Drugs Hardcover – 12 Nov 1979


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; UNKNOWN edition (12 Nov. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718304365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718304362
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,518,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bunny Adolf on 2 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This small book is an absolute wonder! It convinces me that methamphetamine and barbiturate use were mostly to blame for the increasing oddness of Hitler's behaviour as the war progressed.That Albert Speer(who knew Hitler as well as anyone can have been said to know him)is also convinced adds to the authority of this physically insignificant but historically magisterial work.What this book does NOT do is in any way justify the crimes and horrors of Hitler and the Nazis. The addict is still responsible for his/her behaviour and morality. This book explains Hitler's behaviour but in no way does it condone or even sympathise with its subject. This book was,for me, an extraordinary revelation.It surely deserves to be more widely known.
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By Inquisio on 30 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One little suspects that the recognized Hitler was in fact a bit of a junkie. Together with his 'friend', the unofficially licenced Dr. Morell, they pursued a varying input of narcotics, injected and ingested into the Adolf Hitler we knew as a dictator. This culminated in a wrecked human that shot himself. So much for uninformed and, indiscriminate drug usage....
This book written by two people placed nicely to research and, understand the terminology and language used throughout. A fairly comprehensive account of the downfall of Adolf Hitler in the medical sense.... a good read if you are an interested historian.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Most believable presentation of Hiter's psychopathology. 18 Feb. 1998
By Mary Lou D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There are many theories as to what made Hitler the way he was, especially the apparent personality changes after about 1942. These include psychoanalytic theories, Adlerian theories, as well as theories of diseases including encephalitis and Parkinson's disease, etc. The Hestons discuss the pros and cons of all of these theories, and then offer one of their own. They are very thorough in their reasearch and presentation and give a very compelling case for their theory. Albert Speer, in introducing the book states that, after comparing their study with his own notes on Hitler, he believes their theory to be accurate.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
One of many alcohol or other drug addicted despots 10 Dec. 2004
By Doug Thorburn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Adolf Hitler was variously diagnosed as bipolar, schizophrenic and paranoid schizophrenic. He was also diagnosed as having had Parkinson's disease. Yet Hitler had none of these disorders: he was an amphetamine and barbiturate addict.

This marvelous little book, which reads like a medical mystery novel, slowly dismantles every other explanation for Hitler's increasingly reckless behavior. We can conjecture that he may have triggered barbiturate addiction long before amphetamine addiction. However, the reader is left with no doubt that injections given to him by the doctor without whom he "could not live," Dr. Morell, included large quantities of amphetamine, beginning by 1937. (Because Hitler can be seen moving his hands back and forth on his upper legs in a way consistent with amphetamine use, called "stereotypical behavior," in 1936 Olympic Games videos, use likely began a bit earlier.)

The authors offer numerous clues to addiction. When injections, widely believed to be multi-vitamins "specially compounded for the Fuhrer," ceased on occasion, Hitler experienced severe depression, a common symptom among newly abstinent amphetamine or cocaine addicts. He engaged in all-night monologues with an endless repetition of stories, along with increasingly disorganized thinking and confused syntax. As the authors point out, the latter would not be expected of someone considered to have been a supreme orator. His mood swings became more volatile, paranoia increased (a common side effect of amphetamine addiction) and, while early on he accepted blame for tactical errors, he developed a tendency to project blame onto others, a classic indication of addiction to psychotropic drugs (those capable of causing distortions of perception and memory).

Intravenous injections of the "special compound" increased from one to as many as five daily. While intravenous amphetamine use has the same effect as injecting cocaine, it is much longer lasting: the half-life of amphetamines is twelve times longer. He took barbiturates every night during WW2, no doubt needed to offset the effect of amphetamines to allow for sleep. Hitler also used narcotics from 1938 onward, in particular, Eukodal, an early version of Percodan. A potent mix of drugs such as this has adverse effects on a person's personality, thinking, perceptions and, consequently, behaviors (which I describe in my book, "Hidden Alcoholics").

Over-confidence and intoxication with his early successes, common to early-stage addiction, fuelled a propensity to risk-taking and impulsive behaviors. As his use progressed during WW2 he experienced tremors, often attributed to Parkinson's disease. However, heavy amphetamine use mimics Parkinson's, probably because the neurotransmitter dopamine is affected by both.(Interestingly, Yasir Arafat was also diagnosed by some to have this disease; if we look at Arafat's pupils, however, in almost every photograph they are big as the moon--a classic physical indication of amphetamine addiction.) A stereotypical behavior very common to amphetamine addicts, an incessant scratching (the description offered by amphetamine addicts is "bugs are crawling under their skin"), began by 1943.

The fact that no one figured this out until the first hardback printing of this book in 1979, 34 years after Hitler's death, provides some of the most damning evidence ever of how completely unaware biographers and historians are of the role of addiction in determining the course of events. They don't look for it because they don't know it's relevant. In my first book, "Drunks, Drugs & Debits," I wrote that someday historians and biographers would view their subjects in a new light when looking through the lens of alcohol or other drug addiction. Judging from the treatment of Yasir Arafat even after death, there is still a long way to go.

The only flaw in The Medical Casebook is that barbiturates are only mentioned in passing, explaining that Hitler didn't take them in large enough pharmacologic doses for addiction to have occurred. However, the mix of drugs, the fact that drugs potentiate each other in remarkably potent ways (two plus two equals ten) and continuous use strongly suggests that this addiction intertwined with amphetamine use to create the most reviled monster in history. It is an irony of history that Hitler chose never to drink because of the vile effects that alcoholism had on others, in particular his violent alcoholic step-father.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great book.. 26 Jun. 2002
By anna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although I have little interest in or understanding of this particular subject (medicine, health & illness, etc.) it is quite interesting for me inasmuch as it pertains to the Fuehrer. I was struck by the way the authors treated "Patient Hitler", presenting the facts in a clear and unbiased way.
The book is brief and offers the reader clear-cut medical data and explanations, sans negative commentary and personal prejudices, which I found pleasantly refreshing.
It was particularly insightful reading which drugs Hitler was given and how he reacted to each one. I also found their remarks about Hitler's mental state--especially throughout the last year of his life--of great value historically.
All in all it was really a quite fascinating read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Masterpiece of Medical Detective Work 4 Aug. 2011
By Ron Braithwaite - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Hestons' work on Hitler's various medical conditions is fascinating at the very least. The author's never never stoop to vacuous sloganeering. They stick strickly to the facts as they know them. I am especially impressed by their extensive highly-detailed research and interviews with surviving protaqonists. Rather remarkably, the lengthy Introduction is written by Albert Speer, himself. As a man who knew Hitler intimately, he agrees with the Hestons' medical findings and conclusions.

Like many other famous and powerful men, Hitler chose an inadequate personal physician, nearly a quack [Dr. Morrell]. Hitler experienced bouts of abdominal pain for years characteristic of cholecystitis with likely cholelithiasis. If there is any question about it, one time during an attack of aabdominal pain, Hitler had a short bout of jaundice, possibly when his common bile duct became partially obstructed by a small gallstone. Despite signs and symptoms a medical student could have diagnosed, Morrell failed to diagnose the symptoms despite the fact that he treated Hitler for years.

More important is Morrell's long term [and illegal] treatment of Hitler with methamphetamine injections and oral preparations 'dressed up' to look like multivitamins. Hitler was almost certainly was complicit with Morrell, no doubt believing the drug enhanced his performance and, perhaps, decreased his perception of abdominal pain. Starting as early as 1937. Hitler received almost daily meth shots and tried to sustain his hyped up mood with meth-containing tablets throughout the day. Not surprisingly--as in most meth addicts--Hitler's thinking became less innovative, more rigid, more paranoid as time wore on. Hiter's rages, which weren't characteristic of the 'early' Hitler, were monumental. He would someimes rage at virtually nothing for hours at a time. His rigidity and rages either speeded up Germany's defeat [probably responsible for the annihilation of the 6th Army at Stalingrad] or perhaps prolonged the war. Apparently the Soviets put out 'peace feelers' even as German Armies were reeling in the East. Logic would have predicted German interest. By this time, however, Hitler was precisely the opposite of logical.

Combined with meth abuse and its associated sleeplessness, Morrell prescribed various sedatives and narcotics to knock Hitler out at night. Hitler followed the pattern of many other 'rock stars'. Cycles of stimulants and sedatives became his increasingly unrealistic existence.

I am in disagreement with the authors in only one area. The authors don't believe that Hitler was bipolar i.e. manic-depressive. I disagree. Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf' in 1926, many years before he met Morrell or methamphetamine. The book is a pressure-cooker of disorderly ideas. Hitler repeats himself time and again. I believe these are signs that he wrote 'My Struggle' in a hypomanic fugue. The methamphetamines Hitler received later would have really 'lit Hitler's Fire.'

In my opinion, the most important part of the Hestons' work is the 'Afterward' in which they examine the possibility of another charismatic 'Hitler'. I will quote. "He [Hitler] was the first prominent example of the professional politician who has since become prominent in Western societies..........This of course does not mean that today's professional politicians are incipient Hitlers. It does mean that we have created a political environment which encourages highly selected people to make careers in politics and that some of the traits that seem strongly selected for are those Hitler also possessed. UNLESS THAT ENVIROMENT IS ALTERED, THERE IS SOME DANGER THAT .... HITLER MAY PROVE TO BE ONLY THE FIRST OF HIS LINE.

These words were written in the late 1970s, many years before the ascension of our present eloquent, charismatic, professional politician leader.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Very dry reading, but interesting nonetheless 29 Feb. 2004
By Candace Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Heston doesn't write especially well, so expect no fireworks among the pages. However, he has presented an accurate and clinical history of Hitler's health. The most interesting portions relate to Dr. Theo Morell, who became Hitler's personal physician in 1935. Morell was a hygenically-challenged mess whom all in the Hitler inner circle despised. Eva Braun said she would not allow "that pig" to get near her. Still, Morell exerted considerable influence over Hitler, who became physically dependent on the array of drugs Morell injected into him. By 1942, Hitler's physical decline was alarming, and Morell was dousing him with uppers to get up in the morning and downers to allow him sleep.
The "raving lunatic" side of Hitler, always depicted in motion pictures, is a myth. He was nothing like the movie Hitlers, as this book eloquently shows. He was, however, hopelessly addicted to amphetimines and barbituates for many years prior to his 1945 death. Though dry reading, it still will hold your interest.
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