The twentieth century saw its share of autocrats and tyrants. The question of how to understand each group, as well as the differences between them, is certainly a fit subject for the interdisciplinary study of history. Hard evidence from psychology and biology stand ready to make a valuable contribution to it. Yet, at this juncture, political and sociological explanations for the bizarre behavior of ruthless leaders have more to offer than taxonomical imperatives derived from anecdotal data about personality traits of rulers and sociobiological speculations based on the impulses of dominant male primates.

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