Lifton, Robert Jay 1926-
Lifton, Robert Jay 1926-
Born May 16, 1926, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Harold A. (a businessman) and Ciel Lifton; married Betty Jean Kirschner (a writer), March 1, 1952; children: Kenneth Jay, Karen, Natasha. Education: Attended Cornell University, 1942-44; New York Medical College, M.D., 1948. Hobbies and other interests: Tennis, films, and cartooning.
Writer, psychiatrist, researcher, and educator. Washington School of Psychiatry, Washington, DC, and Hong Kong, member of faculty, 1954-55; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, research associate in psychiatry, 1956-61; Yale University, New Haven, CT, associate professor, 1961-67, Foundations' Fund Research Professor in Psychiatry, 1967-84; John Jay College, City University of New York, distinguished professor of psychiatry and psychology, Graduate School University Center, and founder and director of Center for the Study of Human Violence; Harvard Medical School, visiting professor of psychiatry. Harvard Medical School, Gay Lecturer, 1976; Cornell University, Messenger Lecturer, 1980. Research psychiatrist, Walker Reed Army Institute of Research, 1956; research associate in psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1956-61, Tokyo University, 1960-61; candidate, Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, 1957-60; affiliated with Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Organizer of redress group opposing Vietnam War, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria, 1975. Member, Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University, beginning 1964. Consultant to behavioral studies study section, National Institute of Mental Health, 1962-64, to New York Bar Association committee on the invasion of privacy, 1963-64, to Columbia seminars on modern Japan and Oriental thought and religion, beginning 1965, to Arnold and Porter concerning 1972 Buffalo Flood Creek disaster, 1973-74, and to Harmon and Weiss and David Berger, P.A., on psychological effects of 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Military service: U.S. Air Force, 1951-53; became captain.
American Psychiatric Association (fellow), Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, Association for Asian Studies, American Anthropological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (fellow), Group for the Study of Psychohistorical Process (coordinator), American Academy of Psychoanalysis, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Medical Committee for Human Rights.
American Academy of Arts and Sciences sponsorship, 1965, to establish psychohistory as a separate field of academic study; National Book Award for sciences, and Van Wyck Brooks Award for nonfiction, both 1969, both for Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima; public service award, New York Society of Clinical Psychologists, and Alumni Medal, New York Medical College, both 1970; Karen Horney Lecture Award, Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, 1972; distinguished service award, Society for Adolescent Psychology, 1972; Mount Airy Foundation Gold Medal for excellence in psychiatry, 1973; National Book Award nomination, 1974, for Home from the War: Vietnam Veterans—Neither Victims nor Executioners; Hiroshima Gold Medal, 1975; Guggenheim fellowship, 1983; Gandhi Peace Award, 1984; Bertrand Russell Society award, 1985; Los Angeles Times Book Prize for history, 1987, for The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide; honorary degrees include D.Sc., Lawrence University, 1971, and Merrimack College, 1973; and D.H.L., Wilmington College, 1975, New York Medical College, 1977, Marlboro College, 1983, and Maryville College, 1983.
Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China, Norton (New York, NY), 1961.
Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima, Random House (New York, NY), 1968.
Revolutionary Immortality: Mao Tse-Tung and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Random House (New York, NY), 1968.
Birds, Words, and Birds (cartoons), Random House (New York, NY), 1969.
Boundaries, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1969, published as Boundaries: Psychological Man in Revolution, Random House (New York, NY), 1970.
History and Human Survival: Essays on the Young and the Old, Survivors and the Dead, Peace and War, and on Contemporary Psychohistory, Random House (New York, NY), 1970.
Home from the War: Vietnam Veterans—Neither Victims nor Executioners, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1973, with a new preface and epilogue on the First Gulf War, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 1992, with a new preface on the Second Gulf War, Other Press (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Eric Olson) Living and Dying, Praeger (New York, NY), 1974.
The Life of the Self: Toward a New Psychology, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1976.
(With Shuichi Kato and Michael Reich) Six Lives/Six Deaths: Portraits from Modern Japan (originally published in Japanese as Nihonjin no shiseikan, 1977), Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1979.
Psychobirds, Countryman Press (Taftsville, VT), 1978.
The Broken Connection: On Death and the Continuity of Life, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1979.
(With Richard A. Falk) Indefensible Weapons: The Political and Psychological Case against Nuclearism, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1982.
The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1986, with a new preface by the author, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2000.
The Future of Immortality and Other Essays for a Nuclear Age, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1987.
(With Eric Markusen) The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1990.
The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1993.
(With Greg Mitchell) Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial, Putnam (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Greg Mitchell) Who Owns Death? Capital Punishment, the American Conscience, and the End of Executions, Morrow (New York, NY), 2000, with a new afterword by the authors, Perennial (New York, NY), 2002.
Superpower Syndrome: America's Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World, Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books (New York, NY), 2003.
The Woman in America, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1965.
America and the Asian Revolutions, Trans-Action Books/Aldine (Chicago, IL), 1970, second edition, 1973.
(With Richard A. Falk and Gabriel Kolko) Crimes of War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibilities of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts of War, Random House (New York, NY), 1971.
(With Eric Olson) Explorations in Psychohistory: The Wellfleet Papers, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1975.
(With Eric Chivian, Susanna Chivian, and John E. Mack) Last Aid: The Medical Dimensions of Nuclear War, W.H. Freeman (New York, NY), 1982.
(With Nicholas Humphrey) In a Dark Time: Images for Survival, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1984.
(Editor, with Jacob D. Lindy) Beyond Invisible Walls: The Psychological Legacy of Soviet Trauma, East European Therapists, and Their Patients, Brunner-Routledge (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
(Editor, with Richard Falk and Irene Gendzier) Crimes of War: Iraq, Nation Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including New York Times Book Review, New York Times Magazine, New York Review of Books, Atlantic Monthly, Daedalus, Trans-Action/Society, American Scholar, New Republic, Partisan Review, and to American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatry, and other professional journals in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, history, and Asian studies.
Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima was adapted for BBC-TV by Richard Voss in 1975.
Robert Jay Lifton "is an indefatigable author with a lively sense of history and a considerable capacity for assimilating and reordering huge amounts of information," declared Anthony Storr in the Washington Post Book World. "What chiefly interests him," Storr continued, "is the reaction of human beings to extreme situations." Outstanding among Lifton's interests is the question of how people come to terms with mortality—how they face death individually and collectively. "Whether grappling with the experience of mass destruction suffered by the survivors of Hiroshima, with nuclear weapons' potential for genocide, or with the adverse emotional sequelae in American veterans of the Vietnamese war," wrote Sidney Bloch in the Times Literary Supplement, "Lifton has steadfastly striven to comprehend the seemingly incomprehensible."
Lifton studies these questions using the techniques of psychohistory, a discipline that New York Times contributor Christopher Lehmann-Haupt defines as an "endeavor to define how individual human behavior interacts with the historical currents of a given age." This discipline found its modern form in the work of psychologist Erik Erikson, whose biographies Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History and Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence broke new ground by integrating history and psychology in order to understand historical figures in the context of their times. Although Lifton's own work also attempts to understand history through the application of psychoanalysis, it differs from that of Erikson because it concentrates not on influential individuals who affect history, but rather on the historical processes that impact on the individual.
Psychohistory is not universally accepted by historians as a discipline in its own right. Lehmann-Haupt stated in a review of Lifton's psychohistorical History and Human Survival: Essays on the Young and the Old, Survivors and the Dead, Peace and War, and on Contemporary Psychohistory that "as Lifton points out, the two [areas of study] have been traditionally opposed to the degree ‘that psychoanalysis seeks to eliminate history, and history seeks to eliminate psychological man.’" This is not reasonable, Lehmann-Haupt claims; after all, "no individual is free of history and no history is free of individuals." Instead, Lifton suggests that history and psychology complement each other. In a different review—of Home from the War: Vietnam Veterans—Neither Victims nor Executioners—Lehmann-Haupt stated: "What is provocative about Dr. Lifton's long, complex study [are] … the conclusions he draws that even in contemporary situations, history and psychology cannot be separated, and that therefore psychiatrists must henceforth take history into account when treating their patients—not only history as it relates to the patient, but also as it relates to the therapist."
Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima, Lifton's 1969 National Book award-winning study of the psychoses and behavior patterns of the more than ninety thousand survivors of the atom bomb dropped on the city at the close of World War II, uses psychohistorical methods to understand the impact the bomb had on the people who survived it—called hibakusha, or "explosion-affected persons," in Japanese. All survivors, Lifton found, share feelings of a close association with catastrophe and a feeling of guilt at having survived, coupled with a profound death-wish. In a New York Times article titled "On the Nuclear Altar," Lifton explained the hibakusha's reactions more fully: "But their basic feeling was that they had been made into historical guinea pigs—had been victimized by a weapon so new, powerful, and mysterious that its effects could not be known until it had been ‘tried’ on a particular population. One survivor put the matter bitterly: ‘There exist no words in any human language that can comfort guinea pigs who do not know the cause of their death.’" Jerome D. Frank, writing in the New York Times Book Review, observed that "Perhaps [Death in Life's] most significant message is that the long-term psychological crippling of survivors, and the profound societal disruption caused by a nuclear attack, are at least as severe a threat to the continued existence of organized society as the extent of biological and physical destruction."
Lifton sees the possibility of nuclear holocaust as a significant factor in modern concepts of life and death. Emile Capouya wrote in Saturday Review of Boundaries, a series of essays focusing on this theme: "The possibility that civilization and life itself may be ended, deliberately or accidentally, through the exercise of our scientific and technical powers, has been present to us all through the modern period and has given rise at last to a real crisis of morale, of the animal faith that we must have if we are to carry on." Although people have always had to face their own mortality, Capouya stated, "even those persons who had had no revelation about a universal resurrection … might hope to survive biologically, through their children, or spiritually, through their contribution to human culture and history." Now, they may no longer have that option. David Gates, writing in Newsweek about a later Lifton book, The Future of Immortality and Other Essays for a Nuclear Age, had a parallel view; Lifton's theory, he wrote, is "that we all yearn for immortality, whether in an afterlife or in the idea that we live on through our children—or simply humankind. The threat of nuclear holocaust, therefore, has done unique psychic damage." One symptom of this damage, Gates stated, is the behavior of many young adults who are preparing for marriage and children yet doubting that they will live that long. "Traditional apocalyptic visions, said Lifton, at least saw the end of the world as redemptive," declared Gates; "nuclear self-immolation doesn't even offer that cold comfort."
One way people deal with a profound psychic disturbance such as nuclear devastation, Lifton has found, is through the device he calls "psychic numbing" or "psychic closing-off." "Human beings, Lifton observes, ‘are unable to remain open to emotional experience of this intensity for any length of time, and very quickly—sometimes within minutes—there began to occur what we may term psychic closing-off; that is, people simply ceased to feel,’" explained Henry S. Resnik in Saturday Review. Many of the Hiroshima hibakusha exhibit psychic numbing, and Lifton observed similar symptoms in Jewish survivors of Nazi Germany, in the veterans of the Vietnam War, and in student rebels in the West—all victims of an emotional overload.
Doctors in the Nazi concentration camps, Lifton has found, underwent a similar process. Lifton's study The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide asks the question, "How did doctors, devoted to relieving human suffering, justify the treatment of the Jews incarcerated in the camps?" The book shows that there were several factors responsible. In Germany at the time the Nazi party came to power, there was already a concept of "racial purity" that, combined with radical concepts of "euthanasia," helped lead to an organized extermination of the Jews. Doctors, stated Neal Ascherson in the New York Review of Books, were envisioned as "biological soldiers," fighting to preserve the purity of the state. They "were invited to see their task as a supreme expression of medical responsibility, its value only emphasized by the fact that most doctors initially found it difficult to carry out—and some found it impossible." Another attitude, used to justify experimentation on living bodies, was that the prisoners were "in practice already dead by virtue of their presence in camp"; they could therefore be regarded simply as very fresh cadavers. When actually faced with the horrors of giving injections and choosing people for experimentation, the doctors resorted to "psychic numbing," usually accomplished by means of heavy drinking, and a technique that Lifton calls "doubling"—the temporary formation of another self in order to adapt to the extreme conditions of the camp.
In his 1990 work, The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat, which Lifton coauthored with sociologist Eric Markusen, the mindset borne of the holocaust combines with the constant fear of nuclear destruction to produce what Lifton calls "nuclearism": a passive acceptance of such weapons as "normal," coupled with a heightened reliance on those same elements of destruction for safety and protection from outside enemies. Critical of the scientists who developed such weaponry, the authors also have criticism for those individuals who have "passionately embraced" nuclear weaponry as personal "solutions to death anxiety and the threat of extinction." They contrast the Nazi model, "where the habit of killing led, more or less, piecemeal, to a genocidal point of no return," by noting that the choice to use nuclear weaponry "is likely to be sudden and total…. The ‘vicious cycle’ in the nuclear sense—the unending quest for ‘security’ and ‘stable deterrence’—can be ‘broken’ only in one or two ways: by setting the weapons off, or else by getting rid of all or most of them." One of the most controversial aspects of Lifton and Markusen's thesis, according to New York Times Book Review contributor Sheila Tobias, is the "fundamental sameness between Nazism and nuclear genocide…. the ‘disciplined professionals’ in the service of both … [who] are able to put their humanity on hold through psychological ‘doubling’ when they indulge their working selves and both [who are] are convinced of the rightness and urgency of their mission."
Criticizing the authors' argument as "repetitive and deeply flawed," Adam Roberts maintained in a review of The Genocidal Mentality for New Statesman that while Lifton and Markusen urge "a growing global consciousness" and present several schemes to diminish the existence and reliance upon nuclear weapons worldwide, the "strengths and weaknesses" of these solutions "are not explored in any detail. Instead, they are declared to be on the side of the angels." However, Lifton continues to reiterate the themes praised in his previous books, and maintains that U.S. strategists are trapped by the mentality borne of their role in a nuclear age: they developed such frightening and potentially annihilistic policies as "mutual assured destruction" as a consequence of what Lifton terms collective "disassociation," or large-scale "doubling."
Such means of adapting to the thought of ultimate destruction has resulted in the emergence of a psychological type that Lifton calls Protean Man. x0022;In ‘Protean Man’ Lifton advances, with admirable conciseness, the idea that various conditions of contemporary life are contributing to the emergence of a new kind of man," explains Resnik. "The two principal historical developments Lifton cites are ‘historical … dislocation, the break in the sense of connection which men have long felt with the vital and nourishing symbols of their cultural tradition,’ and ‘the flooding of imagery produced by the extraordinary flow of post-modern cultural influences over mass-communication networks.’" He concludes: "It is simply impossible, in short, to hold on to an identity or a world these days—youngsters who grew up with television scarcely know how to try—and the only acceptable alternative, not necessarily an evil one, is to live life as ‘an interminable series of experiments and explorations.’"
Lifton's strongly expressed opinions and analyses of these processes have aroused controversy among critics. Gates saw Lifton's work as "supercritical when he starts exhorting." And Richard Locke, writing in the New York Times Book Review about Home from the War, declared: "The book lacks the sensitive precision that gave tragic power to much of his first work, Totalism and the Psychology of Thought Reform, where he was scrupulously attentive to individual experience and moved from the particular to the general with great care." However, other critics offered different opinions. Resnik, writing about History and Human Survival, maintained: "Whatever his method or its inconsistencies, Lifton has superb talent as a journalist; there is virtually no psychohistorical content in his description of a week's visit to Vietnam, but the essay, which stands somewhat apart from the rest, is a bitingly understated indictment of the American presence in Southeast Asia, and is worthwhile reading in any context." Frank called Death in Life "an impressive, trail-breaking contribution in describing and conceptualizing the experience of surviving a taste of man's nuclear war on his own species—an experience which may fall to the lot of everyone alive today."
While Lifton's arguments may prove controversial to some readers, others see justification in his stance. Lifton "is trying to persuade us that we are living in mortal sin. Some of us may not feel the guilt, but that is because we have been numbed," contended Locke. The author, stated the reviewer, feels he must cure us out of our moral numbness. "Lifton argues that what we have to feel … is what he calls ‘animating guilt,’" says Locke, "a sense that one has violated ultimate moral boundaries; that one must analyze the personal and social forces that led one into sin; that one must come to terms with these facts and then not merely go and sin no more but expose to all mankind the falsity of guiltlessness, the hypocrisy and deathliness of the current social order; and finally that one must exhort one's fellow man to confess his sins and convert to ‘Protean’ nonviolence."
Lifton expands further on his concepts of the protean in The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation. The book "is a clear, concise, and affirmative look at how humans adapt to a constantly changing world," remarked Brian McCombie in Booklist. In what a Publishers Weekly contributor called a "highly stimulating, original synthesis," Lifton describes how the Protean Self assembles bits of experience and constantly seeks to reinvent itself. Those most in tune with their Protean Selves are achievers interested in personal development and growth, who are not content with the traditional patterns and paths of life, and who devise new ways to make their way in the world while seeking alternatives to narrow career options and life paths. Lifton includes biographical profiles of individuals he considers protean, including Vaclav Havel, novelist Gordon Parks, author Kurt Vonnegut, and a variety of activists and advocates. With such a focus on improvement and transformation, Lifton offers the optimistic suggestion that humans are living more hopeful, positive, and focused lives than previously thought possible in a postmodern world.
With Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial, Lifton once again turns his attention to the subject of Hiroshima, this time in terms of how the impact of the Hiroshima bombing has been downplayed and sometimes outright ignored in American historical contexts. Lifton and coauthor Greg Mitchell document how a documentary film of the effects of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, created by a collaboration between American and Japanese filmmakers, was suppressed for more than two decades after the war until it was released by the Japanese government. Lifton finds the fate of that film illustrative of the American approach to the bombing, which amounts to, he asserts, a massive and systemic coverup. The United States, according to Lifton, has routinely engaged in the "suppression of information that might put a human face on what happened to the men, women, and children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," commented Mike Moore in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The authors seek to disprove the commonly held belief that the dropping of the atomic bomb helped to speed the end of World War II. They argue that, even six decades later, there is a "lasting, harmful impact of Hiroshima on American society" in the form of acceptance of the presence and use of nuclear weapons, arms buildups, governmental secrecy, and denial and suppression of information on radiation's influence on health, remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "Hiroshima in America is an evocative book that ought to be read by anyone who believes that the people of the United States have never faced up to horror that was committed in their name 50 years ago," Moore concluded. "Only by acknowledging that an essentially decent nation committed a grossly immoral act can we Americans renew ourselves and take command of our ‘lethal technology’"
In Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism, Lifton deeply profiles the Japanese doomsday cult notorious for releasing deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway, killing eleven and injuring thousands. He explores the "psychological traits of the mostly educated followers of Aum's guru," Shoiko Asahara, noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. In addition, Lifton considers the psychological aspects of the group's aims and motives. He describes the characteristics of Aum's belief system as a combination of New Age religion, Buddhism, and apocalyptic thinking. Lifton offers insight into the daily life of Aum members and into the rationalizations that Aum members use to justify their beliefs and behaviors. Lifton also looks at some other well-known cults in the United States, including Heaven's Gate, the Jim Jones and Charles Manson cults, and the various white supremacist groups at large in America, comparing their characteristics to those of Aum Shinrikyo. Stephen L. Hupp, writing in Library Journal, called the book a "gripping work," while Booklist reviewer David Pitt declared it to be "an intelligent, ambitious exploration of the power of cults and a definite eye-opener."
In Who Owns Death? Capital Punishment, the American Conscience, and the End of Executions, Lifton and coauthor Greg Mitchell look carefully at the historical, social, and ethical aspects of the death penalty in America, "highlighting the faulty logic behind it as well as its inherent conflict with the nation's moral conscience," noted Philip Y. Blue in Library Journal. The authors provide a history of executions in America, with information on the various methods used and data on patterns of conviction. Lifton and Mitchell assign culpability to every person involved in the lengthy bureaucratic process of establishing, applying, and carrying out a death sentence, from judges and juries to defense attorneys and state legislators. The authors seek to demonstrate the weaknesses and flaws of the death penalty system by shifting the blame from a nameless, monolithic, and conscienceless "state" to the individuals whose actions and attitudes contribute directly to moving a human being closer toward legally sanctioned death. In the book, the authors look at a number of dreadfully mishandled executions, including a case in which the convicted person's head caught on fire during electrocution. They stress the arbitrary nature of the death penalty and how it has not been applied consistently. They also make it clear that the common perception that the public at large favors the death penalty is false. Lifton and Mitchell assert that recent concerns over death penalty issues, including such factors as DNA-based exonerations and wrongful convictions, will eventually lead to the abolishment of the death penalty in the United States. An Economist reviewer called the book "an impassioned and informative piece of writing on a melancholy subject," while David Pitt, writing in Booklist, named it "an intelligent, rigorous, thought-provoking book." Reviewer Chris Byrd, writing in Sojourners, concluded: "In helping readers understand that people like themselves kill in their name and revealing their doubts about death's ownership, Who Owns Death? should, nonetheless, compel the ambivalent to reconsider their positions on capital punishment."
In Superpower Syndrome: America's Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World, Lifton sounds a caution on the United States's seeming determination to engage aggressively with those nations that it feels threatens its existence as a global superpower. Worse, Lifton suggests, America as a superpower now feels as though it must control history, not merely make it along with its allies. The current mindset of the American superpower, according to Lifton, is characterized by a deep sense of entitlement and complete freedom to pursue its goals. This sense was sharpened by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, which hardened American resolve to recover from the blow and vigorously reassert itself as a superpower that cannot be trifled with and belittled. Lifton expresses his belief that "American and Islamist forces are on an apocalyptic crash course" in their determination to wipe out what each perceives as evil, and in their rush to rebuild global civilization in a manner consistent with their own beliefs and worldview, noted a reviewer in the Middle East Journal. The author suggests that the United States would benefit from removing itself from this self-perpetuating cycle of belligerence and aggrandizement, easing away from its constant attempts to maintain its status as global superpower. He also sees the War on Terror as a manifestation of apocalyptic thinking because of its ill-defined parameters but also because of its stated goal of eradicating an equally illdefined and amorphous "evil" at large in the world. Such a war can never come to an end, claims Lifton; apart from seeking justice against those who attacked American home soil in September, 2001, a war on "evil" can never end because evil as a concept can never be eradicated. Still, Lifton believes that the United States can remove itself from the pattern of increasing violence and confrontation. "With guarded hope, Lifton provides a complex yet clearly articulated roadmap to national self-reflection rather than international destruction," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Jack Forman, writing in Library Journal, found Lifton's book to be a "clearly and forcefully written manifesto."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Erikson, Erik, Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History, Norton (New York, NY), 1958.
Erikson, Erik, Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence, Norton (New York, NY), 1968.
Lifton, Robert Jay, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1986, with a new preface by the author, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Lifton, Robert Jay, and Eric Markusen, The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat, Basic Books, 1990.
Rank, Otto, Der Doppelgaenger: Eine Psychoanalytische Studie, Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1925, translation by Harry Tucker, Jr., published as The Double: A Psychoanalytic Study, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill), 1971.
American Prospect, June 4, 2001, Gara Lamarche, review of Who Owns Death? Capital Punishment, the American Conscience, and the End of Executions, p. 40.
Booklist, October 15, 1993, Brian McCombie, review of The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation, p. 397; September 15, 1999, David Pitt, review of Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism, p. 1999; November 15, 2000, David Pitt, review of Who Owns Death?, p. 592.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July-August, 1995, Mike Moore, review of Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial, p. 73.
Economist, December 16, 2000, "On Death Row; Capital Punishment in America," review of Who Owns Death?, p. 5.
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, spring, 2003, Christine Leuenberger, review of Beyond Invisible Walls: The Psychological Legacy of Soviet Trauma, East European Therapists, and Their Patients, p. 183.
Library Journal, September 1, 1999, Stephen L. Hupp, review of Destroying the World to Save It, p. 216; December, 2000, Philip Y. Blue, review of Who Owns Death?, p. 162; December, 2003, Jack Forman, review of Superpower Syndrome, p. 143; April 15, 2004, review of Home from the War.
Middle East Journal, winter, 2004, review of Superpower Syndrome, p. 168.
Nation, May 6, 1968, review of Death in Life, p. 604; November 9, 1970, review of Boundaries, p. 470.
New Statesman, March 29, 1991, Adam Roberts, review of The Genocidal Mentality, p. 31.
Newsweek, February 19, 1968, review of Death in Life, p. 20; October 7, 1968, review of Revolutionary Immortality, p. 108; June 18, 1973, review of Home from the War, p. 1569; March 2, 1987, David Gates, review of The Future of Immortality, p. 76.
New York Review of Books, March 28, 1968, review of Death in Life, p. 15; January 16, 1969, review of Revolutionary Immortality, p. 5; June 28, 1973, review of Home from the War, p. 22; October 31, 1974, review of Living and Dying, p. 6; May 28, 1987, Neal Ascherson, review of The Nazi Doctors, p. 29; October 25, 1990, Ian Buruma, review of The Genocidal Mentality, p. 15.
New York Times, September 30, 1968, review of Revolutionary Immortality, p. 45; February 6, 1970, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of History and Human Survival, p. 35; August 6, 1973, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Home from the War, p. 29; July 26, 1979, Robert Jay Lifton, "On the Nuclear Altar"; November 4, 1979, Terrence Des Pres, review of The Broken Connection, p. 9; March 1, 1981, review of The Broken Connection, p. 31; September 25, 1986, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Nazi Doctors, p. C29.
New York Times Book Review, March 31, 1968, Jerome D. Frank, review of Death in Life, p. 10; August 2, 1970, review of History and Human Survival, p. 2; December 6, 1970, review of History and Human Survival, p. 104; June 24, 1973, Richard Locke, review of Home from the War, p. 23; December 2, 1973, review of Home from the War, p. 74; March 10, 1974, review of Home from the War; July 21, 1974, review of Living and Dying, p. 6; November 4, 1979, review of The Broken Connection, p. 9; November 25, 1979, review of The Broken Connection, p. 74; March 1, 1981, review of The Broken Connection, p. 31; October 10, 1982, review of Death in Life, p. 35; January 16, 1983, John Woodcock, review of Indefensible Weapons, p. 18; December 18, 1983, review of The Broken Connection, p. 31; October 5, 1986, Bruno Bettelheim, review of The Nazi Doctors, p. 1; April 5, 1987, Thomas DePietro, review of The Future of Immortality, p. 34; May 27, 1990, Sheila Tobias, review of The Genocidal Mentality, p. 19; February 20, 1994, Richard A. Shweder, review of The Protean Self, p. 16; July 30, 1995, Michael Sherry, review of Hiroshima in America, p. 11.
Progressive, February, 2004, Amitabh Pal, review of Superpower Syndrome, p. 40.
Publishers Weekly, September 20, 1993, review of The Protean Self, p. 55; May 29, 1995, review of Hiroshima in America, p. 74; August 30, 1999, review of Destroying the World to Save It, p. 60; November 6, 2000, review of Who Owns Death?, p. 84; October 13, 2003, review of Superpower Syndrome, p. 65.
Saturday Review, February 3, 1968, review of Death in Life, p. 26; March 15, 1969, review of Revolutionary Immortality, p. 24; February 21, 1970, Henry S. Resnik, review of History and Human Survival, p. 35; February 20, 1971, Emile Capouya, review of Boundaries, p. 28; September 25, 1971, reviews of History and Human Survival and Boundaries, p. 43.
Social Analysis, spring, 2003, Michael Humphrey and Andrew Davidson, "Political Violence and Terrorism," review of Destroying the World to Save It, p. 152.
Sojourners, July, 2001, Chris Byrd, review of Who Owns Death?, p. 53.
Times Literary Supplement, April 10, 1969, review of Revolutionary Immortality, p. 385; July 18, 1975, review of Living and Dying, p. 790; June 12, 1978, Sidney Bloch, "Lethal Practice," review of The Nazi Doctors, p. 625; December 7, 1979, review of Six Lives, Six Deaths, p. 100.
Village Voice, August 15, 1974, review of Living and Dying, p. 26; October 14, 1986, review of The Nazi Doctors, p. 52.
Washington Post Book World, March 24, 1968, review of Death in Life, p. 6; October 20, 1968, review of Revolutionary Immortality, p. 5; January 25, 1970, Anthony Storr, review of History and Human Survival, p. 5; June 24, 1973, review of Home fromthe War, p. 3; May 16, 1976, review of The Life of the Self, p. 579; April 1, 1979, review of Six Lives, Six Deaths, p. E4; December 23, 1979, Anthony Storr, review of The Broken Connection, p. 9; February 20, 1983, review of Indefensible Weapons, p. 9.
Democracy NOW!,http://www.democracynow.org/ (June 12, 2006), Amy Goodman, transcript of radio interview with Robert Jay Lifton.
NOW Web site,http://www.pbs.org/now/ (October 18, 2002), Bill Moyers, transcript of radio interview with Robert Jay Lifton.
Trauma, Culture, & the Brain Conference Web site,http://www.ptsdconference.org/ (December 17, 2006), biography of Robert Jay Lifton.
Yes!,http://www.yesmagazine.org/ (summer, 2003), Sarah Ruth van Gelder, "Finding Courage," interview with Robert Jay Lifton.
"Lifton, Robert Jay 1926-." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 18, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/lifton-robert-jay-1926
"Lifton, Robert Jay 1926-." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Retrieved April 18, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/lifton-robert-jay-1926
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.