Book Launch in Boston Area


Book Launch in Boston Area

In October, Muriel Mirak-Weissbach will present her new book at several venues in the greater Boston area. The book, Madmen at the Helm: Pathology and Politics in the Arab Spring, was released by Ithaca Press in Reading, UK in July.
Are dictators mad or do they just not know when to quit? Do they know that people hate them, or do they have personality disorders that block this knowledge from their consciousness?
While considering the geopolitical manipulations by outside forces, Muriel Mirak-Weissbach takes a unique perspective when she places the events of the Arab Spring in the context of personality disorders such as narcissism, paranoia, delusion, hysteria, and sociopathy, considering five Arab leaders (Mubarak, Qaddafi, Ben Ali, Saleh and Assad) in turn.
A watershed in Arab history, the Arab spring gave young protesters the impetus to challenge established and entrenched dictatorial regimes for the first time, and to demand representative government. Mirak-Weissbach examines the public statements, speeches, interviews, and courses of actions of the five leaders in response to these challenges, and identifies patterns and similarities of behavior. She then argues that their responses illustrate their psychological inability to face reality, and their determination to cling fanatically to power in the face of revolt.
A postscript to the book serves to show that this is a universal phenomenon, not a uniquely Arab one, by identifying examples of narcissism and its associated disorders in contemporary American politics.
This book will have huge appeal to those interested in gaining a deeper insight into the catalyst for and responses to the Arab Spring, and its implications for the future of democracy and power, in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Muriel Mirak-Weissbach is a native of Winchester and Arlington, and lives with her husband in Germany. She has worked for thirty years as a political journalist, specializing in economic, political, and cultural developments in the Arab and Islamic world. Hundreds of her articles have appeared on topics related to development policy, the dialogue between Christianity and Islam, and political events in the Arab and Islamic world. A regular contributor to Arab Forum and, she has recently authored articles in several Armenian publications. Book launches – open to the public and free of charge -- with sales and signing will be held at the following:

  • Tuesday, October 16 at 6:30 p.m. Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108 – Panel Discussion with Prof. Roger Owen, author of The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life. This program is presented as part of the Partners in Public Dialogue program at Old South Meeting House. For more information, please contact: or call 618-482-6439.
  • Thursday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. BookEnds, 559 Main Street, Winchester, MA, 01890, telephone: 781-721-5933,
  • Sunday, October 21 at 3:00 p.m. Armenian Cultural Foundation, 441 Mystic Street, Arlington, MA, 02474, telephone: 781-646-3090.
  • Thursday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m. Robbins Public Library, 700 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA, 02476.
Press release of the OLD SOUTH MEETING HOUSE npdf

For more information about Madmen at the Helm, to request a free review copy or to arrange an interview with the author, please visit or email

To order the book:
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