“How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times, even if they are different and perhaps less dark, and “Origins” raises a set of fundamental questions about how tyranny can arise and the dangerous forms of inhumanity to which it can lead.” Jeffrey C. Isaac, The Washington Post Hannah Arendt's definitive work on totalitarianism and an essential component of any study of twentieth-century political history The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.
The great twentieth-century political philosopher examines how Hitler and Stalin gained and maintained power, and the nature of totalitarian states. In the final volume of her classic work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt focuses on the two genuine forms of the totalitarian state in modern history: the dictatorships of Bolshevism after 1930 and of National Socialism after 1938. Identifying terror as the very essence of this form of government, she discusses the transformation of classes into masses and the use of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world—and in her brilliant concluding chapter, she analyzes the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination. “The most original and profound—therefore the most valuable—political theoretician of our times.” —Dwight Macdonald, The New Leader
'How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times' Washington Post Hannah Arendt's chilling analysis of the conditions that led to the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian regimes is a warning from history about the fragility of freedom, exploring how propaganda, scapegoats, terror and political isolation all aided the slide towards total domination. 'A non-fiction bookend to Nineteen Eighty-Four' The New York Times 'The political theorist who wrote about the Nazis and the 'banality of evil' has become a surprise bestseller' Guardian
The first volume of Arendt’s celebrated three-part study of the philosophical origins of the totalitarian mind. This volume focuses on the rise of antisemitism in Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Index.
In The End of Economic Man, long recognized as a cornerstone work, Peter F. Drucker explains and interprets fascism and Nazism as fundamental revolutions. In some ways, this book anticipated by more than a decade the existentialism that came to dominate the European political mood in the postwar period. Drucker provides a special addition to the massive literature on existentialism and alienation since World War II. The End of Economic Man is a social and political effort to explain the subjective consequences of the social upheavals caused by warfare. Drucker concentrates on one specific historical event: the breakdown of the social and political structure of Europe which culminated in the rise of Nazi totalitarianism to mastery over Europe. He explains the tragedy of Europe as the loss of political faith, resulting from the political alienation of the European masses. The End of Economic Man is a book of great social import. It shows not only what might have helped the older generation avert the catastrophe of Nazism, but also how today's generation can prevent another such catastrophe. This work will be of special interest to political scientists, intellectual historians, and sociologists. The book was singled out for praise on both sides of the Atlantic, and is considered by the author to be his most prescient effort in social theory.
This book examines the nature of totalitarianism as interpreted by some of the finest minds of the twentieth century. It focuses on Hannah Arendt's claim that totalitarianism was an entirely unprecedented regime and that the social sciences had integrally misconstrued it. A sociologist who is a critical admirer of Arendt, Baehr looks sympathetically at Arendt's objections to social science and shows that her complaints were in many respects justified. Avoiding broad disciplinary endorsements or dismissals, Baehr reconstructs the theoretical and political stakes of Arendt's encounters with prominent social scientists such as David Riesman, Raymond Aron, and Jules Monnerot. In presenting the first systematic appraisal of Arendt's critique of the social sciences, Baehr examines what it means to see an event as unprecedented. Furthermore, he adapts Arendt and Aron's philosophies to shed light on modern Islamist terrorism and to ask whether it should be categorized alongside Stalinism and National Socialism as totalitarian.
After the publication of The Origins of Totalitarianism in 1951, Hannah Arendt undertook an investigation of Marxism, a subject that she had deliberately left out of her earlier work. Her inquiry into Marx’s philosophy led her to a critical examination of the entire tradition of Western political thought, from its origins in Plato and Aristotle to its culmination and conclusion in Marx. The Promise of Politics tells how Arendt came to understand the failure of that tradition to account for human action. From the time that Socrates was condemned to death by his fellow citizens, Arendt finds that philosophers have followed Plato in constructing political theories at the expense of political experiences, including the pre-philosophic Greek experience of beginning, the Roman experience of founding, and the Christian experience of forgiving. It is a fascinating, subtle, and original story, which bridges Arendt’s work from The Origins of Totalitarianism to The Human Condition, published in 1958. These writings, which deal with the conflict between philosophy and politics, have never before been gathered and published. The final and longer section of The Promise of Politics, titled “Introduction into Politics,” was written in German and is published here for the first time in English. This remarkable meditation on the modern prejudice against politics asks whether politics has any meaning at all anymore. Although written in the latter half of the 1950s, what Arendt says about the relation of politics to human freedom could hardly have greater relevance for our own time. When politics is considered as a means to an end that lies outside of itself, when force is used to “create” freedom, political principles vanish from the face of the earth. For Arendt, politics has no “end”; instead, it has at times been–and perhaps can be again–the never-ending endeavor of the great plurality of human beings to live together and share the earth in mutually guaranteed freedom. That is the promise of politics. From the Hardcover edition.
Few thinkers have addressed the political horrors and ethical complexities of the twentieth century with the insight and passionate intellectual integrity of Hannah Arendt. She was irresistible drawn to the activity of understanding, in an effort to endow historic, political, and cultural events with meaning. Essays in Understanding assembles many of Arendt’s writings from the 1930s, 1940s, and into the 1950s. Included here are illuminating discussions of St. Augustine, existentialism, Kafka, and Kierkegaard: relatively early examinations of Nazism, responsibility and guilt, and the place of religion in the modern world: and her later investigations into the nature of totalitarianism that Arendt set down after The Origins of Totalitarianism was published in 1951. The body of work gathered in this volume gives us a remarkable portrait of Arendt’s developments as a thinker—and confirms why her ideas and judgments remain as provocative and seminal today as they were when she first set them down. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Upon publication of her 'field manual,' The Origins of Totalitarianism, in 1951, Hannah Arendt immediately gained recognition as a major political analyst. Over the next twenty-five years, she wrote ten more books and developed a set of ideas that profoundly influenced the way America and Europe addressed the central questions and dilemmas of World War II. In this concise book, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl introduces her mentor's work to twenty-first-century readers. Arendt's ideas, as much today as in her own lifetime, illuminate those issues that perplex us, such as totalitarianism, terrorism, globalization, war, and 'radical evil.' Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, who was Arendt's doctoral student in the early 1970s and who wrote the definitive biography of her mentor in 1982, now revisits Arendt's major works and seminal ideas. Young-Bruehl considers what Arendt's analysis of the totalitarianism of Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union can teach us about our own times, and how her revolutionary understanding of political action is connected to forgiveness and making promises for the future. The author also discusses The Life of the Mind, Arendt's unfinished meditation on how to think about thinking. Placed in the context of today's political landscape, Arendt's ideas take on a new immediacy and importance. They require our attention, Young-Bruehl shows, and continue to bring fresh truths to light.