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The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics) Paperback – January 19, 2010
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From the Back Cover
A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer -- the first and most famous of his books -- was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.Completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today, The True Believer is a visionary, highly provocative look into the mind of the fanatic and a penetrating study of how an individual becomes one.
About the Author
Eric Hoffer (1902 -- 1983) was self-educated. He worked in restaurants, as a migrant fieldworker, and as a gold prospector. After Pearl Harbor, he worked as a longshoreman in San Francisco for twenty-five years. The author of more than ten books, including The Passionate State of Mind, The Ordeal of Change, and The Temper of Our Time, Eric Hoffer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.
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Top customer reviews
In many movements that we have seen in the recent history we see similar threads to those discussed in this book. There must be a cadre of "true believer" these are necessary because there will be setbacks before the movement gains steam. During this time only those fully committed to the cause will stick it out.
This is a great book for understanding how and why movements form. Thought it is older and will reference Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia more that modern readers will likely appreciate.
His thoughts on the factors promoting self-sacrifice and the identification with the collective whole has hit the bullseye in my opinion. I have never really understood kamikazes, or more recently suicide bombers, but now I have a clearer picture into their thought process. If you wipe out the identity of the individual and get them to identify with the group, it makes it easier to get them give up their lives for the good of the group. Pretty powerful stuff.