Lifton, Robert Jay

Lifton, Robert Jay

(1926–  ) psychiatrist, author; born in New York City. He taught at Yale (1961) and was director of the Center on Violence and Human Survival at John Jay College (New York City) (1985). His main interest throughout his career was to understand and write about how disturbing historical events and processes affect the individual. His best-known writings are in the form of psychohistories. For example, he wrote Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima (1968) as a way of understanding the coping mechanisms and psychoses of survivors—the way we experience and think about death, possibilities for the future, or our very place in the world, he argued, has been irrevocably changed by Hiroshima. He also wrote Home from the War: Vietnam Veterans—Neither Victims nor Executioners (1973), The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (1986), and a number of other books.
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