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August 9, 1941

The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt to Reinterpret the So-Called Psychopathic Personality

JAMA. 1941;117(6):493. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820320085028

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As a psychiatrist in the United States Veterans Administration the author became interested in that nosological waste-basket basket known as "psychopathic inferiority" and its minor diagnostic variations. He has given much thought to these conditions and has set forth his studies and conclusions in a serious and scholarly work. Cleckley has a flair for the literary, so that in spots he romanticizes his subject and in places he has recourse to the technic of sensational reporting; but these passages need not divert the reader from an extremely worth while account of the subject of psychopathic personalities. The difficulties of treating these patients under our existing insanity codes is thoroughly presented and their prevalence estimated. The author then presents fifteen detailed and illuminating case histories He summarizes existing opinion regarding the group, differentiates it from other entities and sharply outlines and circumscribes the clinical syndrome. Finally he attempts an interpretation of

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