Customer Reviews


7 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Introduction
Particularly if you're not familiar with the depth of thought and magnetism of Eric Hoffer's writing, Tom Bethell's biography should inspire your further digging into the longshoreman philosopher's books. Bethell parses out Hoffer's mysterious beginnings, his dogged self-education, the transit of his thinking and the truly incredible lucidity of his writing. DON'T miss...
Published on June 4, 2012 by W.H. Ryan

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eric Hoffer
Perhaps it was not the author's fault, but after reading the biography I knew no more about Eric Hoffer's private life and formation than when I began; he remains a mystery!
Published 7 months ago by Carl E. Stoffels


Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Introduction, June 4, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher (Hoover Institution Press Publication) (Hardcover)
Particularly if you're not familiar with the depth of thought and magnetism of Eric Hoffer's writing, Tom Bethell's biography should inspire your further digging into the longshoreman philosopher's books. Bethell parses out Hoffer's mysterious beginnings, his dogged self-education, the transit of his thinking and the truly incredible lucidity of his writing. DON'T miss the the Appendix which simple lets Hoffer himself speak on the page as the dynamo of thought he truly was.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why go to college..., July 17, 2012
This review is from: Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher (Hoover Institution Press Publication) (Hardcover)
when you can learn so much more at libraries and obtain wisdom through experience. Tom Bethell chronicles the life and work of Eric Hoffer, an author of various books on philosophy starting with the publication of the True Believer in 1951. Bethell begins his book on the enigma of Hoffer. The text tells us that, apart from Hoffer's words, no known verification of Hoffer's whereabouts before the mid-1930s can be found in any birth, education or immigration records; no one came forth to talk about being a companion of Hoffer's during his early years either.

Hoffer lived the simple life while being employed as a longshoreman in San Francisco; this was his line of work until his retirment in 1966. During that time he made frequent visits to the library and checking out books on philosophy and other subjects as well. From the reading of these books he started to form his own system of beliefs; the first batch of reflections are found in the True Believer, a book describing the nature of mass movements. In reading this biography, one could best describe his ideology as neo-conservative (strong support of America in the Cold War and supporting Israel), but had streaks of paleo-conservatism as well. He was agnostic, but had repsect for religions like Judiaism. Hoffer had no family, but was close friends of those who he worked with on the docks and argued with him on ideology (they were socialists). The book tells that he purportedly fathered a child out of wedlock with one of his friends.

The book is set out well in summarizing Hoffer's life which ended at the age of 85 (sic) in 1983. The book is 280 pages long with text, appendices and a block of quotations from famous men with Hoffer's commentaries on those quotes; an index is included. A good book for one's library; check it out. Four stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eric Hoffer is Awesome, September 25, 2012
I first saw Hoffer during his Severeid interview on TV several decades ago.

He was terrific then and now lives on in dead trees and e-books.
A remarkable writer.

Someone had said that a book of his was too short and he replied:

..."each chapter has at least ONE original idea
and TWO good sentences......."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, good man, May 2, 2013
This review is from: Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher (Hoover Institution Press Publication) (Hardcover)
Tom Bethell is an experienced investigator who in a well-funded biography of Eric Hoffer found no evidence of the man's existence before he appears at mid-life in a camp for transient workers near the California border with Mexico in the mid-1930s. He spoke German and English with what people called a Bavarian accent. When a visitor started a psalm in Hebrew he recited it entire. He claimed it was the only one he knew, found in a public library and learned by heart in the fields and orchards where he worked. Hoffer's education in libraries and casual labor is the part of his life which I take at face value. I have lifelong relations of family and friendship with people who have funded a life of study in our libraries by picking fruit and so on. I think of it as normal but so far as I have learned my country is the only place people do this. What a country, as the immigrants say, and if Eric wasn't an immigrant I'll eat my hat. He improvised lies about a New York origin which hardened into an alibi when he came to national attention with The True Believer. Good thing, too. We would have deported him to Hitler or Stalin. The telltale for me is his tone-deaf view of race in America, a lot of black-hating folderol wrapped around the dead-on and not white observation that the freedom movement benefited the black bourgeoisie at the expense of the masses. Eric retired from farm work to a union job under Harry Bridges, the Communist. It was a job for an intellectual. Eric could take work for as long as a ship was in or stay home at his desk. Getting bulk cargo out of a ship and into a warehouse then the other way around is a thoughtful way to spend a day. Then political scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, hired him for about ten years to sit in an office one afternoon a week and talk to one student at a time. The hallway was always full of those waiting in chairs. This is how you train an elite, by the way, it is how England staffed the Empire at Cambridge and Oxford. The fruitpicker, the reader in public libraries, the longshoreman would rage when his bus ride from the San Francisco docks to Berkeley would stall in one of the demonstrations of the Free Speech Movement. This is another telltale sign of the immigrant intellectual. The scholars who had seen Germany in the 1920s and 30s went nuts at American protest in the 1960s. But again, Eric was right, the Third World intellectuals of that time and place were indeed the middle class making hay out of the oppressed. I wish Tom had tracked down some of the men and women who got to speak with the crazy old man. I love that a public research university brought them in to become educated talking to a thinker.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Philosopher, August 8, 2013
By 
Terryl Paiste (Fairfax, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you've been as fascinated as I over the way Eric Hoffer's description of "The True Believer" have come to life (Jim Jones, for one horrible example), you've wanted to know more about Hoffer. This book may raise more questions than it answers. Nevertheless, I came away from this biography with my own theory about this self-educated philosopher, and I predict you will, too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eric Hoffer, December 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Perhaps it was not the author's fault, but after reading the biography I knew no more about Eric Hoffer's private life and formation than when I began; he remains a mystery!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars erik hoffer, February 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher (Hoover Institution Press Publication) (Hardcover)
the book was not a good read. was not well written and was very repetitious. if your looking for philosophy you won't find it here. writing was very disjointed. Not sure why book was written
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher (Hoover Institution Press Publication)
$29.95 $24.34
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.