Frances Wilson

What does it really mean to have a tyrannical father?

Disappointingly, we are none the wiser for reading Jay Nordlinger’s ‘inquiry’ into the children of 20 dictators — except that Castro’s ten-year-old had plenty to say about the banning of Christmas in Cuba

What was it like, asks Jay Nordlinger, to have Mao as your father, or Pol Pot, or Papa Doc? The answer is that while all happy families are alike, the children of monsters are unhappy in their own way. Some dictatorial offspring are fairly normal while others are psychos. Nicu Ceausescu, son of the rulers of Romania, was from the age of 14 a figure of ‘comic-book evil’ whose hobbies included raping women.

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