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“Paranoia of the Millionaire”: Harry K. Thaw’s 1907 Insanity Defense
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Authors: Emil R. Pinta (The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, Columbus, OH) 
Book Description:
The Thaw trial was the first celebrity trial of the 20th century to utilize an insanity plea. As in other famous cases utilizing this defense, psychiatry itself went on trial. With the Thaw fortune estimated at $40 million, the defense hired the best experts money could afford. The prosecution also had its cadre of noted psychiatrists, leading to a well-publicized “battle of the experts.” The strategy for the defense, which consisted of raising doubt regarding Thaw’s sanity and generating sympathy for him, proved moderately successful. In spite of a vague meaning for brain-storm and a strict legal test for mental responsibility, the jury was deadlocked and did not return a murder verdict. This book examines events leading to Thaw’s shooting of White, and provides details of the trial and testimonies of the principal experts. Drawing largely from psychiatric literature of the early 1900s, Thaw’s mental-health history is examined in the context of diagnostic concepts of the time. Possible interpretations in today’s nomenclature are presented. Brain-storm, paranoia, and temporary insanity, and their evolutions in current terminology are discussed.

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Table of Contents:

Chapter 1. Shooting of Stanford White, pp. 1-2

Chapter 2. Trial Strategies and Experts, pp. 3-9

Chapter 3. Thaw’s First Trial, pp. 11-21

Chapter 4. Aftermath, pp. 23-24

Chapter 5. Thaw’s Second Trial, pp. 25-26

Chapter 6. “Paranoia of the Millionaire”, pp. 27-47

Chapter 7. Thaw’s Ongoing Legal Battles, pp. 49-50

Chapter 8. Evolving Concepts of “Brain-Storm” and Temporary Insanity, pp. 51-53

Chapter 9. Follow-up, pp. 55-57

References, pp. 59-69
Index pp.71-77

      Psychiatry - Theory, Applications and Treatments
   Binding: Softcover
   Pub. Date: 2011 - 2nd quarter
   Pages: 77.pp
   ISBN: 978-1-60876-988-9
   Status: AV
Status Code Description
AN Announcing
FM Formatting
PP Page Proofs
FP Final Production
EP Editorial Production
PR At Prepress
AP At Press
AV Available
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“Paranoia of the Millionaire”: Harry K. Thaw’s 1907 Insanity Defense