Hannah Arendt: A Life in Dark Times
On Sale: August 18, 2015
Paperback / e-Book
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Hannah Arendt, one of the most gifted and provocative voices
of her era, was a polarizing cultural theorist—extolled by
her peers as a visionary and berated by her critics as a
poseur and a fraud. Born in Prussia to assimilated Jewish
parents, she escaped from Hitler’s Germany in 1933 and is
now best remembered for the storm of controversy that arose
after the publication of her 1963 New Yorker series on the
trial of the kidnapped Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.
Arendt was a woman of many contradictions. She was
brilliant, beautiful when young, and irresistible to gifted
men, even in her chain-smoking, intellectually provocative
middle age. She learned to write in English only at the age
of thirty-six, and yet her first book, The Origins of
Totalitarianism, single-handedly altered the way generations
of Americans and Europeans viewed fascism and genocide. Her
most famous—and most divisive—work, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A
Report on the Banality of Evil, created fierce controversy
that continues to this day, exacerbated by the posthumous
discovery that she had been the lover of the great romantic
philosopher and Nazi sympathizer Martin Heidegger.
In this fast-paced, comprehensive biography, Anne C. Heller
tracks the source of Arendt’s apparent contradictions and
her greatest achievements to her sense of being what she
called a “conscious pariah”—one of those few people in every
time and place who doesn’t “lose confidence in ourselves if
society does not approve us” and will not “pay any price” to
gain the acceptance of others.
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