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One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society [Paperback]

Herbert Marcuse , Douglas Kellner
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 1991 0807014176 978-0807014172 2
Originally published in 1964, One-Dimensional Man quickly became one of the most important texts in the ensuing decade of radical political change. This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events.

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Editorial Reviews


Marcuse shows himself to be one of the most radical and forceful thinkers of this time. --The Nation

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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 2 edition (October 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807014176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807014172
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Prophet of the New Left December 22, 2003
Leftist thinking underwent a dramatic change during the Sixties. After fifteen years of unprecedented prosperity, the class issues that had bedeviled the old left seemed moot. The working class, instead of being immiserated and ripe for revolution, was now contendedly (seemingly) partaking in the general boom and as far from revolution as one could imagine. Already by 1950 C. Wright Mills had coined the term "liberal-labor establishment" to disparage the conservative turn in the labor movement (specifically, the CIO). This seeming repudiation of Marx's predictions fostered a great deal of thinking by members of the Frankfurt School, which included Marcuse, about how marxism should be revised and where it went wrong. One Dimensional Man is Marcuse's brilliant attempt to answer this question.
Why is Marcuse so upset about prosperity? Following in the foot steps of Marx, Marcuse is not simply worried about economic exploitation. His basic concern is liberation--a liberation he sees receeding ever further into the distance as modern industrial society (both capitalist and communist) buys off almost all potential opponents through increased abundance. He views modern society as a treadmill where workers are kept enslaved to their jobs by the desire to purchase newer and ever more products produced by their labor. Rather than seeking for liberation, workers willingly put up with the indignities of working for their capitalist (and socialist) masters in hopes of greater material, as oppossed to spritual abundance.
Yet this society is, at its core, irrational, according Marcuse. Written at during the height of the Cold War, Marcuse views the prepartions for World War III as especially telling of the insanity of the current system.
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44 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Insightful Critique April 17, 2000
Marcuse offers a brilliant critique of advanced industrial society that fuses dialectical thought, Freudian theory, Marxist perspectives, and even a bit of existentialism here and there. It provides a comprehensive critique of our technocratic social order, as it has become, that is reminiscient of the works of later French poststructuralists, like Deleuze and Foucault. Ultimately, Marcuse founders on the contradiction between short-term and long-term interests, explicitly critiquing the Welfare State while implicitly, it could be argued, advocating it. However, "One-Dimensional Man" is the best basis for critique yet, with much of the insight that later emerged in the French intellectual fast track, but without the ambiguity of poststructuralist alternatives. Marcuse is both entertaining and brilliant, a must-read for specialists, and an eye-opening classic for the general educated public.
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant today February 17, 2003
By A Customer
Marcuse was very perceptive about the nature of our technological society.Some of his ideas still have relevance today. He saw how the state and power elites were using technology to control people's lives. This has created a new form of totalitarianism. People are massively controlled and manipulated by technology.Our freedom today is to simply to walk about in our cages and choose the wallpaper. Marcuse points out that inner freedom or private space has been invaded and whittled down by technology reality. The media is especially at fault, and things are much worse than when he wrote in 1964. False needs are so pervasive that most people are not aware of the situation. Marcuse also shows how ideas and thinking processes are being used to limit our perceptions. Marcuse is heavy going, but he has many challenging ideas. My criticism of Marcuse is that he was a materialist himself, therefore could not offer a viable way out. He did not see that the real problem was a moral collapse, and this is destroying our materialist system from the inside.If Marcuse had a spiritual outlook, he would have found the answers in a new set of non-material values.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best of the '60's August 26, 2009
Herbert Marcuse was one of the original members of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Along with like-minded colleagues, when Hitler came to power in Germany, Marcuse emigrated to the United States where he taught at a number of universities, including New School for Social Research, Brandeis, and the University of California at San Diego.

Marcuse and the other members of the Frankfurt School, such as Benjamin Nelson, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno, were profoundly influenced by the work of Karl Marx, including his early work, particularly the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. In addition, however, they were indebted to Hegel, Freud, and Max Weber. This helps to explain their interest in culture as a vehicle of domination and exploitation.

During the 1960's and early 1970's, Marcuse was the most influential New Left philosopher in the U.S., and probably throughout the world. He voiced the suspicion, however, that he was much more often cited than he was actually read. It seems unlikely that he would be pleased to be remembered as one of the three M's: Marx the prophet, Marcuse his interpreter, and Mao his sword. This sort of mindless slogan mongering was sharply at odds with Marcuse's commitment to rigorous scholarship in the pursuit of truth.

After 40 years, I remember One-Dimensional Man best for two relatively simple but paradoxical notions: rationality is never neutral or disinterested, and freedom can be oppressive and contrary to the development of human potential.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Many Dimensions
This is an important book with historical resonance, even if the reputation of the author has faded; the new foreword by Douglas Kellner is quite valuable.
Published 2 months ago by Stephen J. Whitfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth
Explains much more than ISA and certainly holds true even more today than when it was written. Everyone has the power to nurture divergent and oppositional thinking. Read it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anna's Cat
3.0 out of 5 stars One-Dimensional Book
The back-cover sells Marcuse as a symbol of the then new left. Indeed he is a very well-read man. Drawing from classic, Marxism, psychoanalysis and some Greek philosophy he seems... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Maxi Muneyoshi
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Much to Offer Contemporary Society
Still Much to Offer Contemporary Society

I arrived at Marcuse as a result of reading Terri Murray's 'Black Mirror Reflections' in issue 97 (July/August 2013) of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by ARWoollock
5.0 out of 5 stars A fundamental text
A clear and elaborate description of the dysfunction of the politics of consumerism. How the elimination of choice is compatible with market economics in the post advertizing era... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mark Sarich
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone leaving in today's world.
This book's subject is still as contemporary today, as when it was written. A must read for anyone regarding their economic, political or religious background. Read more
Published 15 months ago by PRD
5.0 out of 5 stars good
I received my order on time and it was in good shape as expected. Overall, it was an excellent buying experience.
Published 17 months ago by F. Kelleh
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the Hegel Keep You Away.
The take off point for "One Dimensional Man" is the abridgement of language concepts for purposes of social control. Orwell was right. Read more
Published on June 9, 2012 by Ralph Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars Inciteful
One of the greatest thinkers of our recent time and one of his greatest works. Also check out Eros and Civilization
Published on December 29, 2011 by WhatUpWally?
5.0 out of 5 stars Very exciting.
Not disillusioned with the central theme of Marxism, Marcuse attempts to explain the arrested development of post-Marxist revolution, along with totalitarianism of both capitalist... Read more
Published on July 25, 2007 by Robert Gambill
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