The Ordeal of Change

The Ordeal of Change

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by Eric Hoffer

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Eric Hoffer—one of America's most important thinkers and the author of The True Believer—delivers essays on the duality and essentiality of change in man throughout history.


Eric Hoffer—one of America's most important thinkers and the author of The True Believer—delivers essays on the duality and essentiality of change in man throughout history.

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Hopewell Publications, LLC
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Meet the Author

Former migratory worker and longshoreman, Eric Hoffer burst on the scene in 1951 with his irreplaceable tome, The True Believer, and assured his place among the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. Nine books later, Hoffer remains a vital figure with his cogent insights to the nature of mass movements and the essence of humankind.

Of his early life, Hoffer has written: “I had no schooling. I was practically blind up to the age of fifteen. When my eyesight came back, I was seized with an enormous hunger for the printed word. I read indiscriminately everything within reach—English and German.

“When my father (a cabinetmaker) died, I realized that I would have to fend for myself. I knew several things: One, that I didn’t want to work in a factory; two, that I couldn’t stand being dependent on the good graces of a boss; three, that I was going to stay poor; four, that I had to get out of New York. Logic told me that California was the poor man’s country.”

Through ten years as a migratory worker and as a gold-miner around Nevada City, Hoffer labored hard but continued to read and write during the years of the Great Depression. The Okies and the Arkies were the “new pioneers,” and Hoffer was one of them. He had library cards in a dozen towns along the railroad, and when he could afford it, he took a room near a library for concentrated thinking and writing.

In 1943, Hoffer chose the longshoreman’s life and settled in California. Eventually, he worked three days each week and spent one day as “research professor” at the University of California in Berkeley. In 1964, he was the subject of twelve half-hour programs on national television. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.

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Ordeal of Change 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ShalomFreedman More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite of the Hoffer books I have read. Like all his work it is rich in original social thought beautifully expressed. Here are just a few of Hoffer's ideas: "When a population undergoing drastic changeis without abundant opportunities for individual action and self- advancement, it develops a hunger for faith, pride and unity. it becomes receptive to all manner of proselytizing ,and is ager to throw itself into collective undertakings which aim at "showing the world." "Contrary to what one would expect, it is easier for the advanced to imitate the backward than the other way around. The backward and the weak see in imitation an act of submission and a proof of their inadequacy." "The individual's most vital need is to prove his worth, and this usually means an insatiable hunger for action.For it is only the few who can acquire a sense of woth by developing and employing their capacities and talents.The majority prove their worth by keeping busy." "Men never philosophize or tinker more freely than when they know that their speculation or tinkering leads to no weighty results. We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the remarkable fact that many inventions had their birth as toys." Non-conventional, original , always interesting Hoffer is a writer and thinker who will greatly enrich any reader seeking truly to know and understand the world and humanity in a better way. Simply a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago