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The Banality of Evil

Hannah Arendt and the Final Solution

By (author) Bernard J. Bergen
Format: Book
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, United States
Published: 1st Jan 2000
ISBN-10: 0585116962
ISBN-13: 9780585116969
Barcode No: 9780585116969
Synopsis
This highly original book is the first to explore the political and philosophical consequences of Hannah Arendt's concept of 'the banality of evil, ' a term she used to describe Adolph Eichmann, architect of the Nazi 'final solution.' According to Bernard J. Bergen, the questions that preoccupied Arendt were the meaning and significance of the Nazi genocide to our modern times. As Bergen describes Arendt's struggle to understand 'the banality of evil, ' he shows how Arendt redefined the meaning of our most treasured political concepts and principles_freedom, society, identity, truth, equality, and reason_in light of the horrific events of the Holocaust. Arendt concluded that the banality of evil results from the failure of human beings to fully experience our common human characteristics_thought, will, and judgment_and that the exercise and expression of these attributes is the only chance we have to prevent a recurrence of the kind of terrible evil perpetrated by the Nazi

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The Banality of Evil ...is interesting exploration of Arendt's thought. ...it is worth considering seriously..... [Bergen] offers a fresh interpretation of the controversial phrase 'the banality of evil.''''' Bernard Bergen has written a thoughtful, clear inquiry into the key concepts and interpretations that make up Hannah Arendt's theory of totalitarianism. He approaches her Eichmann in Jerusalem with rare balance of judgment and sensitivity.....--Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Haverford College; author of Anna Freud: A Biography