The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Paperback)
Hoffer dissects the socioeconomic and emotional conditions that spawn mass movements and forge fanatics. Focused, forceful, and free of judgement, this brilliant little book was written in the '50s but is essential reading for every era.— From Lara
“Its theme is political fanaticism, with which it deals severely and brilliantly.” —New Yorker
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.
Called a “brilliant and original inquiry” and “a genuine contribution to our social thought” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., this landmark in the field of social psychology is completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today as it delivers 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.
“The True Believer glitters with icy wit. . . bristles with deadly parallels. . . . It is a harsh and potent mental tonic.”
— New York Times
“If you want concise insight into what drives the mind of the fanatic and the dynamics of a mass movement at their most primal level, may I suggest an evening with Eric Hoffer.”
— John McDonough, Wall St. Journal
“[Hoffer] is a student of extraordinary perception and insight. The range of his reading and research is vast, amazing. He has written one of the most provocative books of our immediate day.”
— Christian Science Monitor
“Its theme is political fanaticism, with which it deals severely and brilliantly. . . . It owes its distinction to the fact that Hoffer is a born generalizer, with a mind that inclines to the wry epigram and icy aphorism as naturally as did that of the Duc de La Rochefoucauld.”
— New Yorker
“Hoffer has outlined a remarkably clear and suggestive theory about the kind of social change he sums up as ‘mass movements,’ supplied concrete illustrative materials drawn from a wide historical range, and put them together in a brief, readable, and provocative book.”
— New York Herald Tribune
“This brilliant and original inquiry into the nature of mass movements is a genuine contribution to our social thought.”
— Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.