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The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah…

The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)

by Hannah Arendt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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It is apparently one of the great books of the 20th Century, and the subject matter is deserving of thought. I lost interest when the author began to analyze economics through Marxist theory. Too pointless for my liking, given the track record of Marxist theory... ( )
  RobertP | Dec 28, 2013 |
fondamentale (e monumentale) saggio per capire uno dei fenomeni più importanti del secolo breve. Non è affatto scorrevole o semplice ma vale la pena di essere letto. Presenta un'accurata analisi e confronto dei regimi totalitari degli anni '30, indagandone le origini e le ideologie comuni. ( )
  Zeruhur | May 26, 2012 |
fondamentale (e monumentale) saggio per capire uno dei fenomeni più importanti del secolo breve. Non è affatto scorrevole o semplice ma vale la pena di essere letto. Presenta un'accurata analisi e confronto dei regimi totalitari degli anni '30, indagandone le origini e le ideologie comuni. ( )
  Zeruhur | May 26, 2012 |
In the book, Hannah Arendt traces the development of totalitarianism from its roots in the French nobility after Revolution to the 20th century and beyond. It is her extraordinary ability to expound such a complex topic in such a way that the book is engaging and, above all else, clear. Arendt never attempts to place her writing on the pinnacle of the Ivory Tower, unintelligible for all but a select few erudite peers. Instead, the book is quite accessible to a layman. Nonetheless, it's clear that she has done extensive research into all aspects connected with the topic, with the result that reading the rather voluminous footnotes has proved to be a major source of extra information. In short, an excellent book for anyone interest in totalitarianism, both present-day and historical. Additionally, there is much information about imperialism, Jews in Europe, Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, and a plethora of other related topics. ( )
4 vote rboyechko | Mar 3, 2011 |
Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism is a classic of social and political thought. According to her own account, Arendt uses the term 'totalitarianism' to face up to the 'previously unthinkable reality' actualised in the camps. It makes sense not so much as a fixed and top-down type of political system that can be defined according to certain specifiable criteria, but rather in terms of the imaginary identity (found notably in Gentile) of total domination and total freedom. The crucial point is not to fall for the illusion that this conceptual hubris should be actualised but to see the consequences of its radical incompletion. It is perhaps not impossible in theory that the self-consciousness of the individual can be fully identified with the state, so that nothing is left over and there is no supplement. But the import of Arendt's argument is that it is not the success of totalitarianism that led to 'escalating orgies of destruction', but rather its repeated failure.
  antimuzak | Sep 2, 2006 |
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Hannah Arendtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Power, SamanthaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156701537, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:05 -0400)

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"In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt sought to provide a historical account of the forces that crystallized into totalitarianism: The ebb and flow of nineteenth-century anti-Semitism (she deemed the Dreyfus Affair a dress rehearsal for the Final Solution) and the rise of European imperialism, accompanied by the invention of racism as the only possible rationalization for it. For Arendt, totalitarianism was a form of governance that eliminated the very possibility of political action. Totalitarian leaders attract both mobs and elites, take advantage of the unthinkability of their atrocities, target "objective enemies" (classes of people who are liquidated simply because of their group membership), use terror to create total loyalty, rely on concentration camps, and are obsessive in their pursuit of global primacy. But even more presciently, Arendt understood that totalitarian solutions could well survive the demise of totalitarian regimes."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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