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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

All too often, when leaders come to power, very little is known about the significant relationships and events that have shaped their adult personalities. This chapter emphasizes the necessity of understanding political leadership in the context of the life cycle. Drawing especially on Erik Erikson and Dan Levinson, it emphasizes key life transitions and the shaping of political identity. Among the examples considered are Woodrow Wilson, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Menachem Begin, and the shah of Iran, highlighting the manner in which their early life experiences shaped their leadership behavior. Emphasis is also given to the effects of illness on leadership behavior.

Keywords: identity, illness, leadership, life cycle, power

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