Dictators Were Children Too: Anton Piatigorsky


Imagine if you will, Pol Pot as an adolescent. Or Stalin for that matter or Idi Amin or Mao. That is precisely what Canadian playwright and author Anton Piatigorsky has done using historical fact to create the early lives of men notorious for taking lives. And along the way, he created profiles that paralleled the ones created by a man busy analyzing personality and political behaviour for the CIA. We bring you insights into spotting a tyrant or worse.

Dictators Were Children Too - Anton Piatigorsky

We started this segment with a reading from The Iron Bridge.

Rafael Trujillo's rule over Dominican Republic covered nearly 30 years of torture and murder, before he was shot dead in 1961. While it's true Trujillo worked in a telegraph office, the rest of that little story is speculation.

Canadian playwright Anton Piatigorsky has written a collection of short stories told from the perspective of naive adolescents who would go on to become the monsters of the 20th century. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Tse-Tung and Rafael Trujillo are all imagined at transforming moments.

Anton Piatigorsky is the author of The Iron Bridge and joined us in our Toronto studio to tell us what he discovered.

Dictators Were Children Too - Jerrold Post

Ultimately, Anton Piatigorsky created fictional characters. But in some ways, the approach he took is similar to Jerrold Post's work in creating psychological profiles of world leaders for the U.S. Government.

Jerrold Post is the Director of Political Psychology program at George Washington University and the founder of the CIA's Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior. He too has dug into the childhoods of some of the 20th century's most notorious tyrants. He was in Bethesda, Maryland.

His next book will be Dreams of Glory: Narcissism in Politics.

This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.

Other segments from today's show:

Enbridge Executive makes the case for the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Arsenic found in rice Canadians eat

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