From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Claudia Kalb
Andy Warhol was a hoarder: inside the minds of history’s great personalities by Claudia Kalb was a book which, as the title implies, focused on the possible mental defects of some of the world’s top personalities. Marilyn Monroe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Andy Warhol, Christine Jorgensen, and Albert Einstein were among the celebrities being discussed in view of possessing some mental illness or defect. It is too late to know for sure but Claudia Kalb examines some of the celebrities’ actions through the lens of mental illness.
Christine Jorgensen was one of the first individuals to undergo sex reassignment surgery. In the course of the Christine Jorgensen chapter, Claudia mentions that homosexuality was once viewed as a mental illness or defect. It has since been removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, one must remember that, as our understanding of both the mental and physical components of human beings is honed, definitions and diagnoses are often retooled and refined.
Albert Einstein, according to Claudia, was on the autism spectrum continuum. Autism affects proportionately more men and boys than women and girls. It is, she suggests, closely aligned with a gift for mathematics and/or science since the individuals thus blessed/cursed seem to be able to focus their mind. This book was an enjoyable, mind-opening read and a sometimes entertaining glimpse into the personalities of great people.