Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (1973)

The Origins Of Totalitarianism

by Hannah Arendt

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The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951, was Hannah Arendt's first major work, wherein she describes and analyzes Nazism and Stalinism, the major totalitarian political movements of the first half of the 20th century. The book is regularly listed as one of the best non-fiction books of the 20th century.

Le Monde placed the book among the 100 best books of any kind of the 20th century, while the National Review ranked it #15 on its list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute listed it among the 50 best non-fiction books of the century. The book made a major impact on Norman Podhoretz, who compared the pleasure of reading it to that of reading a great poem or novel. "It seemed to me", he wrote, " - and I was far from alone in this - that Hannah Arendt had uncovered the interrelations among all the terrible things that had happened and were still happening in the twentieth century and that in tracing the development of these connections she had arrived at a new understanding of how they had culminated in the greatest evil of all."

The book has also attracted criticism, among them a piece in the Times Literary Supplement in 2009 by University of Chicago professor Bernard Wasserstein. Wasserstein cited Arendt's systematic internalization of the various anti-Semitic and Nazi sources and books she was familiar with, which led to the use of many of these sources as authorities in the book, although this has not been substantiated by other Arendt scholars.

(The above was built around a Wikipedia page.)