Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil


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Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt

The controversial journalistic analysis of the mentality that fostered the Holocaust, from the author of The Origins of Totalitarianism
Sparking a flurry of heated debate, Hannah Arendt’s authoritative and stunning report on the trial of German Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker in 1963. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt’s postscript directly addressing the controversy that arose over her account. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative—an unflinching look at one of the most unsettling (and unsettled) issues of the twentieth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143039884
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/22/2006
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 73,355
Product dimensions: 5.03(w) x 7.71(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was University Professor of political philosophy in the graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, a visiting professor at several universities including California, Princeton, Columbia, and Chicago, a research director of the Conference on Jewish Relations, the chief editor of Schocken Books, and the executive director of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction in New York City. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1952, and an Arts and Letters Grant of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1954. She is also the author of On Revolution and Between Past and Future, which are available from Penguin Classics along with The Portable Hannah Arendt.

Amos Elon (1926–2009) was born in Vienna, Austria, and spent most of his adult life in Jerusalem. A frequent essayist, lecture, and critic who was well known for his articles in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, he is the author of such bestselling works as The Israelis, Flight into Egypt, Founder, Herzel, and The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch. 

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Eichmann in Jerusalem 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
ProfessorBoh More than 1 year ago
In the historiography of the Holocaust Arendt has been controversial. However, as Elon points out in his introduction the controversy has arisen because of Arendt's style of writing. Heavily laced with sarcasm "Eichman in Jerusalem" is not so much a history of the trial nor the Holocaust. Instead, it is a commentary that raises questions about Eichman's role in the Holocaust. Was he the architect of it? Was he just one of Christopher Browning's "Ordinary Men"? Or was he something in between? To understand Arendt's view it is best to read her own words. In doing so it helps one to try to understand how something as incomprehensible as the Holocaust could occur.
lfphd More than 1 year ago
People seem most upset by the author's reluctance to agree with the commonly accepted profile of Adolf Eichmann as a rabid anti-semitic, and the quinttessential personification of evil. Emotionally it is not easy to accept that the evil men do is often times more evil than are the men themselves. The opposite is also true. But when evil is done, there must be some evil force that did it. There is, but it is not necessarily an individual man, but, rather, mankind itself. The alternative to blaming this on Eichmann is to blame it on our kind, which in some small yet uncomfortable way, means blaming it on ouselves. Freud knew about the dark side of humankind as pervasive and not restrictive to a certain few. Given the right circumstances we would be surprised who is and who is not capable of evil acts. When the author seems to let Eichmann off the hook, she puts humanity itself in his place. That is uncomfortable, especially to those not in touch with their dark side. Those people, by the way, are usually the most dangerous. They can't fight against their darkest impulses because they don't acknowledge their existence in the first place. What happened in Germany during the 1930's and 40's could happen anywhere, including here, given the right circumstances. These circumstances are unknown to Americans. Imagine 3-400% inflation etc., etc. In the final analysis, what happened was not the fault of one evil man, but of the pervassive evil that permeates humankind.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Hannah Arendt is without question one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century.She is of all political philosophers the most convincing and profound analyst of the totalitarian mind .Her great power in thought and her great reputation were perhaps only partly responsible for the distorted judgment which made this particular work a permanent stain on her reputation, not only as a thinker, but as a moral human being.For in this account of the trial of one of the principle perpetrators of the murder of European Jewry she places herself as judge and jury not simply above those in the courtroom in Jerusalem, but above Jewish history itself. In so doing she whether willingly or not seems to somehow diminish the evil of the perpetrators of the crime ( 'the banality of evil') and to indict the victims or at least their leaders for being partly responsible for this. What offends in all this is the arrogance of her tone , and her somehow distancing herself from the victims . She writes as if she is above the Jewish cultural and religious tradition which she knows only superficially. Her point of reference and belonging is to the great tradition of European thought , whose demonic underside and strong anti - Semitic face she does not truly portray.