The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

By Milton Rokeach; Rick Moody (Introduction by)
(New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590173848, 342pp.)

Publication Date: April 19, 2011

List Price: $17.95*
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Description
On July 1, 1959, at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, the social psychologist Milton Rokeach brought together three paranoid schizophrenics: Clyde Benson, an elderly farmer and alcoholic; Joseph Cassel, a failed writer who was institutionalized after increasingly violent behavior toward his family; and Leon Gabor, a college dropout and veteran of World War II.
The men had one thing in common: each believed himself to be Jesus Christ. Their extraordinary meeting and the two years they spent in one another's company serves as the basis for an investigation into the nature of human identity, belief, and delusion that is poignant, amusing, and at times disturbing. Displaying the sympathy and subtlety of a gifted novelist, Rokeach draws us into the lives of three troubled and profoundly different men who find themselves "confronted with the ultimate contradiction conceivable for human beings: more than one person claiming the same identity."

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About the Author
Rokeach is Professor of Sociology and Psychology at Washington State University.

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). At the same time as maintaining a popular medical practice, he became a prolific poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. Experimenting with new techniques of meter and lineation, Williams sought to invent an entirely fresh-and singularly American-poetics, whose subject matter was centered on the everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009.
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