- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (26 May 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140187650
- ISBN-13: 978-0140187656
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.9 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – 26 May 1994
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"Brilliant and disturbing." --Stephen Spender, The New York Review of Books"Profound . . . This book is bound to stir our minds and trouble our consciences." --Chicago Tribune "Deals with the greatest problem of our time . . . the problem of the human being within a modern totalitarian system." --Bruno Bettelheim, The New Republic --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Hannah Arendt was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1906, and received her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Heidelberg. In 1933, she was briefly imprisoned by the Gestapo, after which she fled Germany for Paris, where she worked on behalf of Jewish refugee children. In 1937, she was stripped of her German citizenship, and in 1941 she left France for the United States. Her many books include The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), The Human Condition (1958) and Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), in which she coined the famous phrase 'the banality of evil'. She died in 1975. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In this book (and the original 'New Yorker' essays it came from) Hannah Arendt isn't going for easy, cliché answers. She isn't asking rhetorical or weightless questions. While some of her positions might not be fully supportable, the very act of asking tough questions (that don't fall into easy boxes) is a gift to humanity. Arendt's tactic of giving no one an automatic free pass, while also not allowing people like Eichmann to become cartoonish characters of evil, allows her the room to push the idea that the potential for evil exists not just in dark, scary places, but in well-lit, and very efficient bureaucracies and we all (even Israel) might be asked to push or pull a lever if we aren't paying close attention.
Given the importance of this book, it is a shame that Penguin seem to have entrusted the transcription of the Kindle version to a 16 year-old exchange student on a work-experience placement. The typos are frequent, glaring, at times jarring, and on several occasions involve the omission of whole lines of text or quotation marks, altering the meanings of sentences. You can tell no one has bothered to check the text through because Hitler's title is written as "Fiirher" more or less throughout. I would therefore advise any prospective customers to definitely buy this book, but to get it in paperback unless these issues are resolved.
Arendt writes fluidly and you can polish the text off at quite a pace. It is not directly a work of philosophy, even in the sense that the rest of Arendt's work is, but a commentary on the key players in Eichmann's trial and the pertinent historical events, and mostly an analysis of the psychology of Eichmann. It is this psychological study which provokes the most important moral questions, as Eichmann is comes across as a rather stupid, ambitious individual who is sometimes comical in his failure but too complex to be a monster - in fact, too normal for comfort. This is the challenge posed by "the banality of evil": given the right environment and social factors, might there be an Eichmann in all of us?
Be aware that Arendt has her own social and political axes to grind,and this comes through in her commentary on the trial.
What seems to have created the controversy was mostly the study of Eichmann that Arendt made (point 2). Eichmann continually stressed that he was not a 'Jew-hater', in fact he reports repeatedly of his contact with and respect for the Zionists. In fact, Eichmann also stresses that he never killed anyone nor was he ever capable of it.
So what is Arendt saying? well, she is actually just making a report, not really a judgement. She never suggests for a moment that Eichmann is not guilty of some definition of crimes against humanity - he shipped hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths. But what of the machine of government? Actually, she is not telling us that we might have been Eichmann under the same circumstances and she is not justifying his behaviour thus. There is no contention that his defence of 'i followed orders' is in anyway suitable to explain his crimes. But, Eichmann is no monster and that's not what people want to hear about the so-called 'architect of the Final Solution'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Super book. The film with Barbara Sukova too. Reccomended to all who are interested in history of the Second World Word and its tragedies. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Oh wow yes now where can i find another viewpoint to triangulate some of the imformation
Insightfull read kinda easy to figure out how it would annoy the community though i... Read more
A book everyone should read. Compelling, shocking, arresting, disturbing, challenging but most of all deeply enlightening.Published 9 months ago by John Bland
This book introduced the clichéd term “banality of evil” but I don't know what else. I found it confusing, obscure and badly written, like so much of the material published... Read morePublished 11 months ago by John Fitzpatrick
The kindle version of this book is full of formatting and typographical errors - I got so fed up that I ended up borrowing the book from the library! Read morePublished 16 months ago by GC
Good book, arrived quickly and in great condition. Recommended if you're in to this kind of thing - otherwise it might be a bit of a hard read.Published 24 months ago by Anthony Thurlow