The Banality of Evil: Hannah Arendt and 'The Final Solution' (Paperback)
This highly original book is the first to explore the political and philosophical consequences of Hannah Arendt's concept of 'the banality of evil, ' a term she used to describe Adolph Eichmann, architect of the Nazi 'final solution.' According to Bernard J. Bergen, the questions that preoccupied Arendt were the meaning and significance of the Nazi genocide to our modern times. As Bergen describes Arendt's struggle to understand 'the banality of evil, ' he shows how Arendt redefined the meaning of our most treasured political concepts and principles_freedom, society, identity, truth, equality, and reason_in light of the horrific events of the Holocaust. Arendt concluded that the banality of evil results from the failure of human beings to fully experience our common human characteristics_thought, will, and judgment_and that the exercise and expression of these attributes is the only chance we have to prevent a recurrence of the kind of terrible evil perpetrated by the Nazi.
About the Author
Bernard J. Bergen is professor emeritus of psychiatry and sociology at the Darmouth Medical School and Dartmouth College. Among his books is Illumination of Darkness: Freud and the Social Bond.