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on 19 April 2007
Despite the deceptive comic strip format, this is not an easy introduction to Existentialism. In fact the ideas come thick and fast from the author who embarks on a personal quest to try to understand the terms of this philosophical position. Having read a number of other 'Introduction to ... ' type books written in this format, I was expecting something that was more readily accessible. Not that I believe philosophy is ever simple, but a book in a series like this should give a clear and broad overview for the novice and an appetizer for further reading if it whets their appetite. As far as this volume goes it tends to leave you feeling inadequate to pursue the quest any further.
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on 14 March 2017
Great summary of the main themes and theorists who have grappled with existential problems over the centuries !Ideal introduction for those new to the subject.
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on 3 August 2017
Not a very good introduction to existentialism I'm afraid. Jumbled to the point of being incoherent, glib explanations. There are better introductions available.
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on 29 February 2008
If you want to know the background, history, or even to find out as to what actually existentialism is, do not buy this book.It is very pretentious, and it seems the author was more interesed in his own personal quest, than actually talking about what existentialism might actually be.
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on 29 May 2004
The "Introducing..." series of books, with their cartoon drawings, imply, for me at least, an introduction to a subject that a lay person can read quickly and understand easily.
I have found other "Introducing..." books very good in this respect.
This book "IS NOT" an "introduction" to the subject. It presumes that the reader has a certain knowledge not just of existentialism, but also of a number of diverse subjects.
Also, rather than presenting the topic objectively or logically, we are presented with the authors opinions and realisations.
This gets annoying after a while.
The discourse in the book is interesting, but wholly inappropriate to this type of a book.
In conclusion, I wouldn't buy this book until I had already read a better introduction to existentialism, in which case then I probably wouldn't have need of this book.
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on 25 July 2016
Awful. Simply awful. I don't need Existentialism spoon fed to me, but this book seems to go out of its way to over-complicate the topic. The author, who seems to think that picturing himself next to the likes of Sartre and Heidegger will make him seem slightly more important than he is, appears on nearly every page of this book. That alone should illustrate the pompous antics of this writer. A lot of the book doesn't even make much coherent sense. I'm familiar with Sartre and in fact the Introducing Sartre was a fantastic look at his work, but here it's far too convoluted.

Do not buy this book and do not support this author. If you want a good background, spend your money on the collected essays in The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche. A dense read, but very rewarding, insightful and straight forward even for newer readers. And Introducing Sartre which as I have said is a wonderful breakdown of his life and work.
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on 28 June 2009
So far I have read three of the 'Introducing...' series of books and I am impressed with all of them. I started reading this one just after finishing 'Introducing Sartre' which is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

This book however is harder to understand than a Japanese translation of War and Peace; it's like a caricature of the pretentious philosopher. I have the edition with the picture of the author on the cover; dressed in black, looking all angsty and important with a bottle of whisky, a gun and a cigarette in a holder. In my ignorance I thought that this might be an important existentialist like Camus, which would explain the pictures of this guy walking around graveyards like an aging goth on every single page! I was mistaken.

It is only through reading the book on Sartre that I had occasionally had a sense of what in God's name was going on. Philosophy isn't a simple subject but it is needlessly complex when philosophers make up their own words, like 'practico-inert', for no reason. It is virtually incomprehensible when the person explaining what these philosophers are trying to say is himself quite pompous. I would like to make up my own word to describe this book: pretentio-idiot.
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on 12 May 2005
I'm sure the author is well versed in Existentialism but I can't help feeling that he attempts to take us on a journey of his own, which frankly feels as if it requires its own "Introduction"! Difficult to dip into and if you are not following him then easy to loose track. It is too personalised, trying to be too smart and subsequently missed the mark as far as I am concerned.
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on 22 January 2002
The term "introducing" seems a little misleading in the context of this book. In fact, I would not recommend it unless you have an incredibly good knowledge of the english language or are very familiar with philosophy and several of its more abstract ways of expressing ideas.
To me, this book is a typical example of the work of a scholar, who attempts to appeal to a select few readers who can actually follow him, whilst expecting all the others to marvel at how intelligent he appears - after all, anyone who can string together a few long words in some vaguely logical fashion must be amongst the intellectual elite.
I know that existentialism is not something that is easy to define, as if you define it you are generally negating the whole idea of it. However, there is no need to write in such an unapproachable and elitist way as Apignanesi, so as to leave the reader in a state of confusion. He seems unable to put across an objective view of the topic without getting too involved in his own ideas and pedantic use of language. All the tangents that he insists on flying off at make the book even less readable.
You may achieve some understanding by reading this, but most of it would go over the head of 95% of people, I am sure.
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on 11 March 2005
Despite the title, this book is useless as an introduction. Frankly, theres little to interest the experienced reader either - although some of the photos/illustrations are quite nice.
If this book is a readers first encounter with the wonderful world of Existentialism (which I suspect it may be for many), then its pretentiousness may put them off for good.
Much better introductions to the subject would be 'Sartre For Beginners', 'Kierkegaard for Beginners' and 'Heidegger for Beginners', from 'Writers And Readers' books - not Icon.
I'm a big fan of 'documentary comic books', but this is miles off the mark. Disappointing!
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