Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy

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Max Weber is a fresh look at the life and work of one of the greatest social and political thinkers of the modern era, and the first book to focus on Weber from an American perspective.Ever since World War II, Max Weber has been regarded as a monument to the most conservative and conventional orthodoxies of the social science establishment. Despite the fact that many of Weber’s books, foremost among them, Economy and Society and The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, are classics and continue to be ...

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Overview

Max Weber is a fresh look at the life and work of one of the greatest social and political thinkers of the modern era, and the first book to focus on Weber from an American perspective.Ever since World War II, Max Weber has been regarded as a monument to the most conservative and conventional orthodoxies of the social science establishment. Despite the fact that many of Weber’s books, foremost among them, Economy and Society and The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, are classics and continue to be read, there has never been a single-volume treatment of Weber’s life and thought in English.In reversing this critical neglect, John Patrick Diggins challenges Weber’s iconic status and in the process uncovers another side of Weber: one influenced by Nietzche, one whose deep belief in individualism bound him close to the Emersonian tradition in America, one with a Lincoln-like sense of history as tragedy, and one with a sober sense of the responsibilities of the state.Diggins brilliantly connects the critical moments of Weber’s life—and in particular, his experience of America—to his most enduring ideas on power, capitalism, bureaucracy, and science. He argues that Weber’s emphasis on such topics as rapaciousness, hypocrisy, and deception makes his work timelier than ever in helping to illuminate the dilemmas of modern American politics.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
This book—part biography, part exegisis, part appreciation—is one of Diggins' best.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465017515
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 12/2/1998
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 The Last Puritan 17
2 "Man's Philosophy Is His Biography" 45
3 Authority and Its Discontents 66
4 Calvinism and Capitalism: The Irony of Unintended Consequences 92
5 Human Action and Its Meanings 110
6 The Dignity of the Academic Calling 132
7 "A Joyous Triumph over Rationality": Women, the Erotic, and the Power of Status Politics 154
8 Subjectivity in Morals, Willfulness in Politics: Germany, America, and World War I 180
9 "Peace Without Victory" and "Gambling on Gratitude": Woodrow Wilson and Max Weber 199
10 The German Revolution of 1918 and the Doctrine of Socialism 223
11 "The Centre Cannot Hold" 248
Epilogue 269
Abbreviations 285
Notes 287
Index 319
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