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The Inequality of Human Races Paperback – September, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0865274303 ISBN-10: 0865274304

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Fertig (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865274304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865274303
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

About the Author

Joseph Arthur, Comte de Gobineau (1816–1882) was a French aristocrat, novelist and early ethnologist who set the academic standard for the development of racial science. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on November 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Frenchman Arthur De Gobineau was better known for his fictional novels, but he wrote this historical-philosophical-sociological work in the 1800's as a result of his lengthy travels throughout the world. Gobineau took his observations and attempted to come up with a theory that would describe the disparity he observed amongst the different human races of the world. The result was a multi-volume set entitled, "The Inequality of Human Races". This translation is of the first volume only, but it reveals the main thrust of De Gobineau's theory and gives the reader much information to mull over. I chose to read this book for a European history class, since this book influenced not only German political and social thought, but also reinforced European views towards colonization and internal class struggles.

Gobineau begins his book by looking at popular reasons concerning the collapse of civilizations. Such ideas as bad government, fanaticism and luxury are addressed and dismissed by Gobineau. He believes these are only symptoms of a degeneration of civilizations. His argument ultimately comes down to race mixing as the cause of the decline of civilization. Gobineau argues that civilizations that mix with peoples that are incapable of civilization will destroy that society. In Gobineau's opinion, all problems can be found in "the blood", and these problems can be passed on. Gobineau writes that there are two elements in blood, a male trait, which is concerned with materialistic aspirations, and a female trait, which is concerned with intellectual pursuits. He sees Hindus as having this female trait, which accounts for their intellectual works in religion. Germans have the male trait, a materialistic drive to acquire land and possessions; to go forth and conquer.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Ubraminos on July 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
A historical document. However its racist content makes it scandalous and it will probably make it unavailable. Is a Rolls-Royce better than a Ferrari? What kind of dog is the best? I dont know but one thing is sure, they are different. Count Gobineau made his choice with human races judging their value by their achievements, but this is not a racist tiresome speech, Gobineau is a good argumentator, and good writer that uses history to prove he is right. The book is a good one with only one problem, its subject. As dangerous books do not exist if you're not a dangerous reader, this essay can be recommended.
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51 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Saul Boulschett on July 1, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The cover design is sneakily but clumsily tendentious, isn't it: a weaving of the nazi swastika? Come on! Can we have some tolerance for different perspectives without pigeoholing?
A new humanity beyond the petty differences of color and race, forged out of respect and organic acceptance for what each race and culture has to offer to make humanity whole? Who could possibly argue with that? Indeed, if you think the world today has become a better place as a result of mixing of ideas, cultures, and values-in addition to peoples (blood and seeds)-then you should read this book. If you think disagree, then you should also read this book.
This is a dangerous book, but not because it is incendiary per se, but because it contains one man (an aristocrat)'s observation about the world. So where is the danger in that? It lies in the fact that we (post) moderns can no longer penetrate-today, we only know how to dissect-with empathy (not necessarily agreement!) the kind of worldview that would have been held by intellectual aristocrats of the old school..
Thus our inability to understand a particular perspective can only force us to denounce it as elitist rubbish, or worse: (mis)appropriate it to add to our personal arsenal to better defend our own pet peeves about, and still profit by, what is NOT right about the world today.
Regardless of your opinions about the issue of race, if you do not have the detachment and breadth of vision of a historian, then you might as well forget about reading this short but fascinating book. If you are a knee-jerk liberal or a closet-nazi, you will likely come off the worse for having read De Gobineau.
What if the book had been "On the Inequality of the Organs"?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Nahmias on February 1, 2010
I have little to say on the content of the book. It has been elegantly said elsewhere. I just wanted to warn everyone NOT TO GET THIS EDITION! It is missing whole pages of the original, mixes in footnotes with the actual text, and overall looks like a scan anyone could do. I am angry I spent $15 on something of this poor quality. Yes, they warn you of the typos, but LEAVING OUT PAGES?
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful By New Age of Barbarism on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
_The Inequality of the Human Races_ by Count Arthur de Gobineau is a prophetic work from the nineteenth century which shows the differences between the principle racial groups in terms of their civilizing influence. De Gobineau was a French aristocrat and racialist who had an influence on Richard Wagner and is believed to be a proto-Nazi theorist. Like Nietzsche, de Gobineau took a rather grim view of religion as a civilizing influence and argued against "slave-morality". This book expounds his racial theories. The book begins by making the case that racial differences can in fact explain differences in civilization and achievement. De Gobineau argues that neither luxury, effeminacy, misgovernment, fanaticism, nor the corruption of morals is responsible for the decline and destruction of states, civilizations, and peoples, but that instead the mixing of the blood leads to this decline. De Gobineau also argues in a series of successive chapters that racial inequalities are not the result of institutions, the regions in which one lives, or the civilizing influence of Christianity. He then proceeds to outline a series of comparisons between races and explains the differences between civilizations. De Gobineau argues that the white race is more capable of achieving great civilization than either the yellow or the black race, and he explains various intermixtures of these three races. The Aryan influence on high culture cannot be denied, and de Gobineau explains his theory of Aryan supremacy. For de Gobineau, there exist a male and female element within the blood. The male element constitutes a "material current" (Purusha), and the female element constitutes an "intellectual current" (Prakriti).Read more ›
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