Hannah Arendt's definitive work on totalitarianism—an essential component of any study of twentieth-century political history—now with a new introduction by Anne Applebaum
Hannah Arendt’s definitive work, The Origins of Totalitarianism, is an essential component of any study of twentieth-century political history. It 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. This edition includes an introduction by Anne Applebaum – a leading voice on authoritarianism and Russian history – who fears that “once again, we are living in a world that Arendt would recognize.”
Hannah 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.
Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) is considered one of the most important and influential thinkers of the twentieth century. A political theorist and philosopher, she is also the author of Crises of the Republic, On Violence, The Life of the Mind, and Men in Dark Times. The Origins of Totalitarianism was first published in 1951.
“The work of one who has thought as well as suffered . . . A disquieting, moving, and thought-provoking book.” — New York Times Book Review
"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, Washington Post