Madman in the White House? A Discussion with Jamieson Webster and Patrick Weil


Did Woodrow Wilson's daddy issues cause World War II? And what might this teach us about our contemporary political plight? Jordan Osserman talks with psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster and historian Patrick Weil about The Madman in the White House: Sigmund Freud, Ambassador Bullitt, and the Lost Psychobiography of Woodrow Wilson (Harvard UP, 2023). While conducting research at Yale, Patrick Weil chanced upon the unpublished and unredacted original manuscript of Sigmund Freud and Ambassador William Bullit's notorious psychobiography of former US President Woodrow Wilson - sat in an unlabelled dusty box. Weil's investigation of this incredible and poorly understood Freud-Bullit collaboration led him to radically reconsider Woodrow Wilson's role in the Treaty of Versailles, and the value of psychoanalysis in illuminating a self-sabotage of world historical proportions. 

Jamieson Webster is a psychoanalyst in New York City. She is the author of the forthcoming On Breathing (Peninsula, 2025), Disorganisation & Sex (Divided, 2022), The Life and Death of Psychoanalysis (Karnac, 2011) and Conversion Disorder (Columbia University Press, 2018); she also co-wrote, with Simon Critchley, Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine (Pantheon, 2013). She contributes regularly to Artforum, The New York Times and the New York Review of Books.

Patrick Weil is a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and a senior research fellow at the French National Research Center in the University of Paris1, Pantheon-Sorbonne. Professor Weil's work focuses on comparative immigration, citizenship, and church-state law and policy. His most recent books are The Madman in the White House. Sigmund Freud, Ambassador Bullitt and the Lost Psychobiography of Woodrow Wilson (Harvard University Press, 2023) and De La Laïcité en France (Grasset, 2021). Weil is also, since 2006, the founder and the chairman of the NGO Libraries Without Borders (Bibliothèques Sans Frontières).

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Jordan Osserman

Jordan Osserman is a postdoctoral research fellow and psychoanalyst in training in London. He can be reached at
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