Eric Hoffer (1902-83) was born in New York City. At the age of seven he went blind, and after he mysteriously regained his sight at the age of 15 he began to read voraciously. In 1951, the same year that the Rosenbergs were convicted, that the Korean War was at its height, and that Joseph McCarthy was at his height, Mr. Hoffer produced this book.
In this book, Mr. Hoffer examines mass movements, and the true believers that fill them. While the movements change from generation to generation, the believers stay the same - people who suffer from self-hatred and self-doubt, and who join a mass movement (any mass movement) that promises to build a better future. The true believers are obsessed with the outer world, and with the private lives of others, seeking to create some sort of meaning for their own lives.
Overall, I found this to be one of the most fascinating books that I have ever read. The author's thoughts often seem to come in a stream of consciousness, but they explain so much about believers and the movements that they get behind. This is a riveting read, full of a great deal of food for thought. If you really want to understand the world around you, and the fanatics that fill so many different movements, then this is the book for you.
This is a book that every thinking person should read and ponder. I highly recommend it to you!