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An Essay on Liberation Paperback – June 1, 1971

ISBN-13: 004-6442005951 ISBN-10: 0807005959 Edition: 1ST

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1ST edition (June 1, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807005959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807005958
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) was born in Berlin and educated at the universities of Berlin and Freiburg. He fled Germany in 1933 and arrived in the United States in 1934. Marcuse taught at Columbia, Harvard, Brandeis, and the University of California, San Diego, where he met Andrew Feenberg and William Leiss as graduate students. He is the author of numerous books, including One-Dimensional Man and Eros and Civilization.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Shives on April 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
A RESPONSE TO "Liberation from the Affluent Society"
My first impression of Herbert Marcuse' speech was the title. Upon reading it I thought why would anyone want to be liberated from an affluent society? It seemed rather odd to me that anyone would want to be freed from prosperity. However, upon further and deeper reading I soon learned exactly what the author meant by his title. Marcuse sees western society as an enslaving system which crushes its members into a life of bondage towards gain. Marcuse sees a need to fight against the society and to not be a normal citizen while society dictates so much in its members' lives. I believe that although Marcuse has a place in awakening the reader against the drudgery of life, overall Marcuse is a man who is too revolutionary to ever be content in the modern state of mass society.
I realized how much in common Marcuse had with the great Nineteenth Century Transcendentalist Henry Thoreau. Both men are radicals of their time. On that basis both unhesitatingly confronted the contemporary world, however shocking or bizarre their claims might seem to the conformist consensus of the establishment. Just as Thoreau challenged the government's moral decision in the Mexican War and his opposition to social conformity due the drudgery of life, Marcuse also pitted himself against the War in Vietnam and his opposition to mass society due to his position of seeing the great limitations of capitalism. Both men have basically the same struggle and that struggle is against the enslavement of society. However, they differ in the sense that Thoreau does not advocate a new social order just a method of passive resistance, whereas Marcuse in another essay advocates a Utopian alternative to the restraints of capitalism.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pawel on August 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Well, the book is about 30 years old but so far it is probably one of the best observations of the forces behind the scenes which are running the western culture. It does not offer any clear conclusion but it definitely raises the level of consciousness and what is also funnier it makes visible to many social mechanisms around in the present time. Definitely a good reading, written in a good normal language which is easy to understand... Enjoy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Finn on February 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow, wow, and wow!! The more I read Marcuse, the more I fall in love. His command of language is a rare gem combined with an unequalled intellect that deconstructs western consumerism and slavery of the human spirit. One of the most arresting moments of the book: his thoughts on obscenity. "Obscenity is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the Establisment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to the expressions of its own morality but to those of another." He illustrates this by stating that obscenity is not a work of art or a woman's genitalia, but a 4 star general or a clergyman espousing the virtues of war. The rest of the book is a beautiful treatise on how we have the power to truly liberate ourselves from the tyranny of consumerism and false consciousness.
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