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Extended Audio Sample The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,768 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hannah Arendt Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A recognized classic and definitive account of its subject, The Origins of Totalitarianism traces the emergence of modern racism as an “ideological weapon for imperialism,” begining with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in the nineteenth century and continuing through the New Imperialism period from 1884 to World War I.

In her analysis of the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, Arendt focuses on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in the twentieth century: Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, which she adroitly recognizes as two sides of the same coin rather than opposing philosophies of the Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the transformation of classes into masses, the role of propaganda, and the use of terror essential to this form of government. In her brilliant concluding chapter, she discusses the nature of individual isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The work of one who has thought as well as suffered…A disquieting, moving, and thought-provoking book.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The most influential single book on the theme of totalitarianism.”

    Foreign Affairs 50-Year Bibliography

  • “Looks at almost every pernicious trend in the last century’s politics with stunning subtlety.”

    Christopher Caldwell, National Review

  • “With The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt emerges as the most original and profound—therefore the most valuable—political theoretician of our times.”

    New Leader

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Bill Zhou | 1/29/2014

    " If you still have some illusion for so-called "collectivism", please read this book and make yourself clear. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Elsie | 1/27/2014

    " She's amazing, but I've heard some convincing criticism, too. (That we can't interpret imperial cruelty from the Holocaust down.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Brendan | 1/26/2014

    " I like to underline important passages when I read, especially philosophical/sociological landmarks like this. But a few pages in I realized that I was just underlining everything. This is truly one of the densest, most well-written and well-argued books I've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Damien | 1/26/2014

    " Alright, so I didn't read the whole thing. Good book, though. "

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About the Author
Author Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) was born in Hanover, Germany, fled to Paris in 1933, and came to the United States after the outbreak of World War II. She was editorial director of Schocken Books from 1946 to 1948. She taught at Berkeley, Princeton, the University of Chicago, and the New School for Social Research.