From Hannah Arendt, the author of The Origins of Totalitarianism, her influential essay examining the relationship between violence, power, war and politics
'Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it'
Why has violence played such a significant role in human history? Written in 1970, with the Holocaust and Hiroshima still fresh in recent memory, war in Vietnam raging and the streets of Europe and America exploding into student protest, Hannah Arendt's seminal work dissects violence in the twentieth century: its nature and causes, its relationship with politics and war, its role in the modern age. Arendt warns against the glamorization of violence by revolutionary causes, and argues that true, lasting power can never grow 'out of the barrel of a gun'.
'Incisive, deeply probing, written with clarity and grace, it provides an ideal framework for understanding the turbulence of our times' The Nation
With an introduction by Arendt expert, Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Humanities and Human Rights at the University of Birmingham.
Incisive, deeply probing, written with clarity and grace, it provides an ideal framework for understanding the turbulence of our times ― The Nation
About the Author
Hannah Arendt was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1906, and received her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Heidelberg. In 1933, she was briefly imprisoned by the Gestapo, after which she fled Germany for Paris, where she worked on behalf of Jewish refugee children. In 1937, she was stripped of her German citizenship, and in 1941 she left France for the United States. Her many books include The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), The Human Condition (1958) and Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), in which she coined the famous phrase 'the banality of evil'. She died in 1975.
Lyndsey Stonebridge FBA is Professor of Humanities and Human Rights at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is the author of We Are Free to Change the World: Hannah Arendt’s Lessons in Love and Disobedience (2024); Placeless People: Writing, Rights, and Refugees (2018); winner of the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize and a Choice Outstanding Academic Title; The Judicial Imagination: Writing After Nuremberg, which won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Prize for English Literature; and the essay collection, Writing and Righting: Literature in the Age of Human Rights. She is a regular media commentator and broadcaster, and lives in London.