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Hannah Arendt (1906–1975)

Author of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

195+ Works 21,534 Members 210 Reviews 64 Favorited

About the Author

Born in Hanover, Germany, Hannah Arendt received her doctorate from Heidelberg University in 1928. A victim of naziism, she fled Germany in 1933 for France, where she helped with the resettlement of Jewish children in Palestine. In 1941, she emigrated to the United States. Ten years later she show more became an American citizen. Arendt held numerous positions in her new country---research director of the Conference on Jewish Relations, chief editor of Schocken Books, and executive director of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction in New York City. A visiting professor at several universities, including the University of California, Columbia, and the University of Chicago, and university professor on the graduate faculty of the New School for Social Research, in 1959 she became the first woman appointed to a full professorship at Princeton. She also won a number of grants and fellowships. In 1967 she received the Sigmund Freud Prize of the German Akademie fur Sprache und Dichtung for her fine scholarly writing. Arendt was well equipped to write her superb The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) which David Riesman called "an achievement in historiography." In his view, "such an experience in understanding our times as this book provides is itself a social force not to be underestimated." Arendt's study of Adolf Eichmann at his trial---Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963)---part of which appeared originally in The New Yorker, was a painfully searching investigation into what made the Nazi persecutor tick. In it, she states that the trial of this Nazi illustrates the "banality of evil." In 1968, she published Men in Dark Times, which includes essays on Hermann Broch, Walter Benjamin, and Bertolt Brecht (see Vol. 2), as well as an interesting characterization of Pope John XXIII. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Hannah Arendt

The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) 3,571 copies
The Human Condition (1958) 2,874 copies
On Revolution (1963) 1,372 copies
Between Past and Future (1954) 1,032 copies
On Violence (1969) 1,010 copies
The Portable Hannah Arendt (2000) 452 copies
Men in Dark Times (1968) 441 copies
Eichmann and the Holocaust (2005) 390 copies
Responsibility and Judgment (2003) 356 copies
Totalitarianism (1948) 344 copies
Antisemitism (1968) 240 copies
Love and Saint Augustine (1992) 230 copies
The Promise of Politics (2005) 225 copies
Imperialism (1958) 188 copies
The Jewish Writings (2007) 141 copies
Kant (1962) — Editor — 119 copies
Die Freiheit, frei zu sein (2018) — Author — 116 copies
Qu'est-ce que la politique ? (1993) 104 copies
On Lying and Politics (2006) 65 copies
Walter Benjamin : 1892-1940 (1968) 50 copies
Ebraismo e modernità (2003) 26 copies
Tiempos presentes (1986) 24 copies
Wir Flüchtlinge (2016) 23 copies
Disobbedienza civile (2017) 18 copies
Considérations morales (1996) 18 copies
Besuch in Deutschland (1993) 18 copies
Vies politiques (1986) 14 copies
Dignidade da Política, A (2000) 11 copies
Il futuro alle spalle (1995) 10 copies
In der Gegenwart (2000) 10 copies
Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht: Two Essays (1971) — Author — 9 copies
Poemas (2017) 9 copies
Hannah Arendt (2013) 8 copies
Burden of Our Time (1951) 6 copies
La Lingua Materna (1993) 6 copies
Auschwitz et Jérusalem (1993) 5 copies
Oordelen (2016) 5 copies
Myślenie (1991) 4 copies
Escritos judaicos (2016) 4 copies
Religione e politica (2013) 3 copies
Penser l'événement (1989) 3 copies
Journal de pensée (2005) 2 copies
Wahrheit und Politik (2006) 2 copies
Pensiero secondo (1999) 1 copy
Ecrits juifs (2011) 1 copy
La banalità del male (2023) 1 copy
Le vouloir (2000) 1 copy
OEuvres 1 copy
Poemes (2017) 1 copy
1986 1 copy
Spinoza 1 copy
Arendt 1 copy
Carteggio (1989) 1 copy
Mbi dhunën 1 copy
Penser librement (2021) 1 copy
De mens 1 copy
Indarkeriaz 1 copy

Associated Works

Illuminations: Essays and Reflections (1968) — Editor, some editions — 3,158 copies
The Death of Virgil (1945) — Introduction, some editions — 1,176 copies
Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus: From The Great Philosophers, Volume I (1966) — Editor, some editions — 414 copies
The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle (1959) — Introduction, some editions — 210 copies
Daguerreotypes and Other Essays (1979) — Foreword — 125 copies
The Phenomenology Reader (2002) — Contributor — 94 copies
Martin Heidegger (1973) — Contributor — 58 copies
The Jewish Writer (1998) — Contributor — 52 copies
The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources (2008) — Contributor — 36 copies
Writing Politics: An Anthology (2020) — Contributor — 35 copies
Partisan Review (1998) — Contributor, some editions — 33 copies
Anselm and Nicholas of Cusa (1974) — Editor — 29 copies
Revolutionary Russia: A Symposium (1968) — Contributor — 15 copies
The Analog Sea Review: Number Four (2022) — Contributor — 2 copies


20th century (470) antisemitism (197) Arendt (543) biography (134) critical theory (118) criticism (79) ebook (92) essay (125) essays (419) ethics (110) fascism (117) fiction (133) German (217) German literature (126) Germany (235) Hannah Arendt (160) history (1,078) Holocaust (513) Israel (106) literary criticism (165) literature (132) Nazism (154) non-fiction (1,037) philosophy (2,984) political philosophy (387) political science (267) political theory (656) politics (841) psychology (76) religion (76) revolution (93) sociology (197) theory (225) to-read (1,258) totalitarianism (299) unread (92) USA (96) violence (90) war (75) WWII (300)

Common Knowledge



The book considers violence as a phenomenon. It discusses the end to the revulsion against violence after World War II and the early civil rights moment. Considers violence in historical perspective.
PendleHillLibrary | 9 other reviews | Apr 9, 2024 |
Banal means lacking in originality or boring. It is a fitting description of the Nazis’ imaginations behind the Holocaust. This crime against humanity was so hideous that international laws were created to try those culpable. Adolf Eichmann was among the planners of the “Final Solution” and fled to Argentina. The new state of Israel had to kidnap him in order to bring him to justice in Israeli courts. He never denied the charges against him and was eventually hanged as punishment. In this book, Hannah Arendt analyzes his trial to show how even an “enlightened” country like Germany could fall to such evil.

This report is not an exciting work. Though crimes and wars are often glamorized, she shows how utterly boring they are. She further demonstrates how an entire culture can fall prey to hideous evils through pride and an excuse that everybody’s doing it. When humans become only self-interested and driven only by self-promotion, we are capable of ignoring our consciences and our own humanity. In the modern world, individuals must learn to say, “no” and “never again,” instead of just passing the buck to the next person.

I appreciate this book’s insights about how Nazi Germany took shape. Before World War I, Germany was considered to have the leading culture in the world – educationally, ethically, scientifically, and artistically. Yet they fell prey to a nationalism that denied the humanity of those not of the “Aryan race,” whatever that means. If they can fall, anyone can fall.

This account, though heavy throughout, reminds me of the seriousness of national politics. It’s easy in a democracy to look upon our political class as entertainers, not leaders. Often, that entertainment leads to beating up on and “othering” someone else. This story shows how that mistake can happen even to the best and the brightest. It shows how only care and conscience can bring justice and love into the world.
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scottjpearson | 59 other reviews | Apr 6, 2024 |

I'd been looking forward to reading this book for years. I'd heard great things, and the reviews on here got me even more excited. Unfortunately I found this book not only boring as all get out but also very out of date.

My main beefs:

She gets imperialism and anarchism confused, which definitely isn't easy to do.

She refers to the American continent as a place that had no culture or history before white people showed up.

Eventually, halfway through the second of three parts, I skipped to the final part. In the first paragraph she talks about how fascist leaders are instantly forgotten, and uses the example of Hitler. She claims that Hitler is irrelevant to neo-nazi and neo-fascist groups, which is one of the most out of touch statements I've ever read.

I'm gonna put this book back on my shelf and listen to some podcasts about it
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bookonion | 35 other reviews | Feb 23, 2024 |
Not quite the work I was expecting. The first third, a history of European anti-semitism deserves to be its own, separate study. The next third is a history of 19th century Imperialism through the First World War, and seems again to be loosely related, if at all, to what follows.

Finally, the final third addresses totalitarianism, and is a product of its time - the echoes of the second world war still ringing. Confusingly, some of it speaks of Stalin's USSR in the present tense, and some parts are edited later after his death.

What should have been the books strongest chapters instead ramble as poorly organized lecture notes. Four times in the final section Arendt describes the SS as the 'transmission belt' of the Nazis. Perhaps it is a translation issue. 'Driving force' or to stick with the analogy, simply 'ratchet' would make more sense. It really stood out to this reader as a loosely organized set of notes after the 2nd repetition, let alone the fourth.

Her closing argument that loneliness lies at the heart of totalitarianism seems indisputable.
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kcshankd | 35 other reviews | Jan 24, 2024 |



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