From Kirkus Reviews
Part 1940s period piece, part stimulus to ongoing thought on the social impact of technology, this first in a projected six volumes of Marcuse's papers, many of them previously unpublished, merits the attention of critical theorists and general readers alike. Ably edited and annotated by former Marcuse student Kellner (Philosophy/Univ. of Texas, Austin), volume one collects papers and several letters (to Max Horkheimer and Martin Heidegger) from the period when Marcuse was moving from theoretical work for his beloved Institute of Social Research (ISR) to more practical studies for the US Office of War Information. The ISR, under Horkheimer's direction, continued in the Frankfurt School's tradition of Marxist-inspired social critique. The German concept of critique descends from Kant, who saw himself rescuing reason from its terrible proneness to self-deception. Critical theory in the Frankfurt School shifted the locus of deception from within the human mind outward, to social forces that inevitably transformed, dialectically, into the opposite of what they appeared to be. Marcuse's critique of technology is that, having emerged out of moral human reason, it soon makes reason conform to its own amoral obsession with efficiency and means, regardless of ends. The resulting ``technical reason'' is a Frankenstein monster that, for Marcuse, explains what the War Office hired him to analyze and propagandize against: Nazi Germany. As new analyses of what Germans call the ``Nazi time'' continue to appear, Marcuse's reduction of Naziism to technical reason run amok--an excrescence of capitalism, wholly discontinuous with classical German culture--provides a sober alternative to more inflammatory theories of inbred German anti-Semitism. Any German intellectual selected at random opens up onto that vast, uniquely integrated tradition of thought, bounded by Kant and Heidegger, that partially defines German culture. For the general reader, Marcuse's early essays provide one entree to that world; for the specialist, they provide backdrop to Marcuse's more famous published books. (9 photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
[this] book is valuable...for documenting what the philosopher of revolution was thinking and writing when he was an official of the United States Government...Now, for the first time, we are able to read Marcuse's analyses of Nazi Germany, as well as his views of communism and revolution in the period immediately following the war.The New Republic
...there is much material here of interest to the general reader...the items chosen for publication are interesting and appropriate, and the Foreward by Peter Marcuse and the Introduction by Douglas Kellner are clear and provide very valuable information about the historical and social context of Marcuse's writings.Philosophy in Review/Comptes Rendus Philosophiques
...a splendid beginning to a series that promises a renewed and revitalized interest in and consideration of one of the most significant representatives of critical theory.CJS Online
It is refreshing to read Herbert Marcuse on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth and the issuing of a series of previously unpublished writings and letters . . . In the first volume of the series, we get reminded of Marcuses's incredible intellectual power . . . His vision of liberation . . . reached toward the dimensions of meaning that Tikkun supports
[The series] will make a real contribution to reviving a neglected figure in American as well as world philosophy.Stanley Aronowitz, The Chronicle of Higher Education