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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely suberb.
Well, what can I say ... this is an absolute masterpiece (fourth edition: thoroughly revised etc.).
Kaufmann is acknowledged in many quarters as an authoritative source as far as Nietzsche's work is concerned. In this book he provides, in addition to valuable critical analyses of much of Nietzsche's work, important backround information that proves extremely...
Published on 20 Nov 2001 by Gerard

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fair, uncritical review of Nietzsche's life and work
Kaufmann's book concerns Nietzsche, both his life and his thought. The discussion of Nietzsche's thought, though, takes up the majority of the book. Nietzsche's life is discussed in a single chapter, covering his birth, academic career, insanity and death, as well as his sister's dubious care of his estate. This biographical chapter is well written and clear, and is not...
Published 23 months ago by Alexander Sokol


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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely suberb., 20 Nov 2001
By 
Gerard (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Paperback)
Well, what can I say ... this is an absolute masterpiece (fourth edition: thoroughly revised etc.).
Kaufmann is acknowledged in many quarters as an authoritative source as far as Nietzsche's work is concerned. In this book he provides, in addition to valuable critical analyses of much of Nietzsche's work, important backround information that proves extremely valuable; it facilitates early understanding of Nietzsche's work proper.
As an avid Nietzsche reader, I unreservedly recommend this book, as, indeed, I do with all of Kaufmann's work, in that it gives an unsurpassed and very necessary (this will become apparent if you buy it) introduction to the great man's work.
Five stars without hesitation! If you plan on reading Nietzsche this is a fantastic introductory text, which, I'm sure you will come to agree, is thoroughly indespensible.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, 4 July 2010
By 
Anthony Murphy (Shipley, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Paperback)
I agree - 5 stars without question. This book is dynamite - Kaufmann must know his German very well because he has actually READ Nietzsche - I am so grateful he wrote this book. I think he has done the great man justice....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The key to Nietzsche., 10 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Paperback)
Walter Kaufmann's exposition of Nietzsche's thought is so precise, all-encompassing, and equitable that one almost cannot study Nietzsche without reading it.

The book is superbly structured. Kaufmann manages to follow the development of Nietzsche's philosophy perfectly, from the beginning of Nietzsche's activity to its very end. One by one Kaufmann demolishes all the myths, misinterpretations, and perversions conjured around Nietzsche's philosophy. Kaufmann truly does justice to the great German thinker. He manages to highlight Nietzsche's key philosophical conceptions, and shows how they all fit together and form one unitary stream of thought.

Kaufmann points out himself that Nietzsche is probably the easiest German philosopher to read, but the hardest to understand. And it is here that Kaufmann's great literary skill, and all-encompassing and highly lucid analysis come in, not only to do justice to Nietzsche's thought, but to present it in a captivating and beautiful piece of philosophical work in itself.

If one is interested in understanding Nietzsche's thought, and understanding it well this is the book to read and a masterpiece in itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless commentary on Nietzsche's philosophy, 13 Nov 2011
This review is from: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Paperback)
5 stars without hesitation. The book is a tour de force of Nietzsche's philosophy touching on everything from the life of Nietzsche, the will to power, sublimation, self-overcoming and Eternal Recurrence.

The first edition was published in the 50s and the language is slightly old-fashioned so be prepared for that. Careful reading is required both because of this and because the subject is dense to begin with. This is not light reading. However you can rest assured the translation from the original German is spot on. Kaufmann is a native German speaker and his English is better than mine. The second drawback is that knowledge of other philosophers would be very useful when reading this book. Specifically Socrates, Plato, Kant and Schopenhauer. If you don't have much knowledge of these philosophers then don't worry you'll just have to read a little more carefully - as I did.

Now the actual content. When Nietzsche is properly understood his ideas really do offer a challenging and perhaps life changing experience for the reader. Even if you do not agree with his conclusions his thoughts are an interesting and alternative paradigm in which to view the world. Once you learn of the will to power as a model in which to explain human behaviour other peoples' actions (and your own) suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

The concepts of over-coming, sublimation and the natural conclusion of these - the Ubermensch or Overman offer a great opportunity for personal growth. Although I do not agree with everything Nietzsche has to say, and I probably do not fully understand some ideas I have nevertheless taken some of the best ideas to heart. This is a profound and thought-provoking book. As I read I underlined passages and sentences and I can see myself months and years from now dipping back into this book to once again be inspired by Nietzsche's genius.

Buy it, read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fair, uncritical review of Nietzsche's life and work, 19 Jan 2013
By 
Alexander Sokol (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Paperback)
Kaufmann's book concerns Nietzsche, both his life and his thought. The discussion of Nietzsche's thought, though, takes up the majority of the book. Nietzsche's life is discussed in a single chapter, covering his birth, academic career, insanity and death, as well as his sister's dubious care of his estate. This biographical chapter is well written and clear, and is not much concerned with the details of Nietzsche's philosophy.

In the remainder of the book, Kaufmann systematically expounds the works and main patterns of thought of Nietzsche. For the most part, I found that these chapters were surprisingly readable for a technical philosophy text. Nietzsche's famous dictum "God is dead" is introduced and its meaning clarified, and Nietzche's ideas of good and bad based on Darwinistic theory is discussed. The history of the ideas of "will to power" and "eternal recurrence" and their implications are discussed.

Some chapters are very unclear, in particular the discussions about "sublimation" - Nietzche's name for the process of self-overcoming - and Nietzche's conception of "spirit". To a large degree, the difficultly with these parts of the book is that words and concepts are being thrown around whose meaning at best are very unclear, at worst not sensible at all.

Furthermore, some of Nietzche's ideas are downright silly. While Kaufmann explicitly notes in his introduction that he does not necessarily agree with Nietzche's thought, he does not spend much time criticising it, either. For example, the idea that all human behaviour is motivated by power either requires a hopelessly simplistic conception of humankind or a radical redifinition of the word "power". In all honesty, Nietzsche seems to be quite indifferent to whether his ideas about mankind at all fits actual observations of human behaviour. And as regards the doctrine of eternal recurrence - that events must repeat themselves infinitely - Nietzche's own arguments are easily refuted, and there appears to be scant reason to take this idea seriously.

All in all, Kaufmann's book is a solid exposition of Nietzsche's thought, although unclear at times. And while Kaufmann cannot be held responsible for Nietzche's ideas occassionally being rather unrealistic, reading simplistic and far-fetched ideas without good arguments still makes for a frustrating experience. Thus, this ultimately detracts somewhat from the overall reading experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kaufmann as Nietzsche's interpreter, 25 July 2010
This review is from: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Paperback)
Kaufmann is to Nietzsche what Arthur Rubinstein was to Chopin -- a benchmark for any further interpretations.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 18 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Paperback)
In Nietzsche's bibliography it's one of the most standard books to advise.
It's well written and it has some really interesting ideas.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a misunderstanding, 7 Oct 2013
By 
Mr. J. Reeder "justin reeder" (cambs, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Paperback)
In my view Kaufmann completely misunderstands Nietzche's concepts of 'self-overcoming' and the 'overman', thinking it to be something to do with the attainment of self-mastery/control when if anything it is the exact opposite, a moment of explosive 'enlightment' and 'transformation of conciousness'not dry self-control.
No-one understands Nietzsche, not even Nietzche understands Nietzche. Only the 'overman' understands Nietzsche and he is yet to exist.
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Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist
Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist by Walter A. Kaufmann (Paperback - 21 Feb 1975)
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