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The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties, with "The Resumption of History in the New Century" Paperback – November 29, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 2nd edition (November 29, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674004264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674004269
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.7 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #931,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A very polished book. The overall argument on the relationship of declining religious and rising national feeling is highly appropriate and particularly significant. Bell is obviously completely conversant with recent work by Habermas, Chartier, Gordon, Baker, and Crow, to name but a few authors whose findings he weaves into his own purpose. I was also taken with his thought on the relationship between national feeling in France and the awareness of France's changing place in the world, and with that, of Britain's surprisingly swift advance from 1688 to the middle decades of the eighteenth century. His pages on 'Great Men' as the vehicles of national sentiment are likewise very thoughtful. (Patrice Higonnet, author of Goodness Beyond Virtue)

Praise for earlier editions:

The End of Ideology was one of the most influential, most controversial, and most misunderstood books about the 1950s. But it is not simply a central text of the intellectual history of those years (although it certainly is that). It is also a provocative discussion by one of America's most creative thinkers of political and philosophical issues that concern us still.

(Alan Brinkley)

No one could consider himself politically literate without an intimate knowledge of the issues foreseen in The End of Ideology. (Theodore Draper)

Originally published in 1960, this collection of essays focuses on the protean nature of American society and the decay of Marxism and other systematic ideologies in the West...Arthur Schlesinger Jr. [has] admired the book's 'unflagging confidence, trenchancy, and authority.' (Scott Veale New York Times Book Review 2000-12-31)

About the Author

Daniel Bell was Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences, Emeritus, Harvard University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Kreca on August 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
Although first published in 1960, just before a torrent of social change drenched the US and the world, sociologist Daniel Bell's insightful collection of essays comprising "The End of Ideology" still has much to offer, even as the 21st century approaches. From his thoughtful assessment of the apparent failure of European-style socialism in the United States to his vivid description of the numerous psychological strains burdening the average American worker--the latter still sadly true in our current "information age"--Bell believes that the day of traditional airtight ideological solutions and posturing, for all practical purposes, has ended.

According to Bell, much of what sustained the old "urban progressivism" which, despite its flaws, was a force for much positive social change in the US, has largely disappeared. Bell predicted conditions peculiar to American society combined with trends like the steady decline in labor union membership, the steady progress of workplace automation and, even then, the emergence of mass electronic communications would make humans less willing to accept the singular utopian pronouncements of what he called "millennial" movements. Instead, ongoing social fragmentation, diversification and conflict would make coping with major socioeconomic problems along traditional "party" lines unrealistic and self-defeating if not impossible.

Given the persisting belief among many that traditional "government" and its obsolete solutions are failing us and the continued rise, diversification and notable influence of vocal, single-interest splinter groups with considerable access to a variety of powerful communications media--despite their familiar revolutionary noises--it is hard to disagree.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Panopticonman on April 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Three selections from the End of Ideology are worth the price of the book. First, the essay Bell wrote for this latest edition in which he makes a strong case that with the end of ideology, "history" has begun anew. Next, the new introduction he wrote in the mid-70s which discusses the critical reception of this book. Finally, the last chapter of the original book, a masterful history of Marxist thought.
In essay on the resumption of history, Bell clears away much of the underbrush that has grown up around the notion of "global capitalism" by pointing out that the end of empire (and that includes the Soviet Union) and the colonial era has had the largest impact on world politics over the past forty years. The reignition of various ethnic groups whose identities had been suppressed under various Uber states and ideologies is just as important a part of the story. The 1975 introduction is a fascinating refutation of his, mostly Marxist, critics. For instance, C. Wright Mills, the maverick sociologist, apparently came after Bell for his review of Mills' "The Power Elite" (included in "The End of Idelogy"). Bell neatly dissects Mills' both in the essay and in his answer to Mills' criticisms. Bell, the empiricist, is the clear winner in these two rounds. The last chapter on Marxism is worth re-reading and re-reading for Bell knows the subject and the players intimately, as only a former boy Socialist born in New York's Lower East Side could. He explains how Marx's transmutation of Hegel's ideas into "dialectical materialism" set the stage for generations of leftist intellectuals to misinterpret or reinterpret events into Marxist prattle according to their understanding or lack of understanding thereof.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Bell writes clearly about complex issues. His thesis that the world seems to come to an ' end of ideology'has not really held up in time. We see today a kind of total ideology ' radical Islamic fundamentalism' at the center of conflict throughout the globe. This however does not in my judgment diminish the value or quality of the outstanding individual essays that comprise this volume. One brilliant essay alone on the various Sovietology theories is worth the price of the volume. So many learned analyses were provided to understand the Soviet Union at that time, and so few understood the kind of structural weakness which would lead to its self- disintegration. Bell writes convincingly about diverse problems of the advanced industrial society as it is moving in his understanding from a production to a service economy. The essays written in the fifties often show an excellent understanding of the ' information society ' as it is about to enfold. The main thesis is that the world has come to an age where the great Ideologies no longer hold sway is as I have said challenged by present reality. However the book itself is so rich in ideas and social understanding that one can nonetheless read it with great profit.
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