Blending investigative journalism with the personal approach of a writer both fascinated and appalled by her subject, this is an award-winning portrait of life under ‘one of the most savage surveillance regimes ever known’. With previously unpublished photographs by the author.
The Origins of Totalitarianism
Introduced by Anne Applebaum
The Origins of Totalitarianism won the Scholarly, Academic & Reference Books category at BBD&P Awards 2022
Published by Folio in its first-ever illustrated edition, Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism is a ground-breaking study of how the Nazi and Soviet regimes came to power, which speaks directly to our own age.
The mob always will shout for ‘the strong man’, the ‘great leader’. For the mob hates society from which it is excluded.
In an age of strong-man leaders, mass populist movements and media disinformation, The Origins of Totalitarianism has soared back into the public consciousness and become essential reading for our times. Published shortly after the Second World War, Hannah Arendt’s study of state tyranny stands as a powerful warning from history, and as one of the 20th century’s most important works of political history. Arendt – with the insight of a Jewish refugee who fled Hitler’s Germany – lays bare the brutality of Nazism and Stalinism, and seeks to advance our understanding of the forces of antisemitism and imperialism that forged them. This is the first-ever illustrated edition, with famous propaganda images and documentary photography from the USSR and the Third Reich. It includes an exclusive introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum – a leading voice on authoritarianism and Russian history – who fears that ‘once again, we are living in a world that Arendt would recognise.’
The Origins of Totalitarianism won the Scholarly, Academic & Reference Books category at the British Book Production and Design Awards 2022.
Quarter-bound in blocked cloth with textured paper sides printed with a design by Jamie Keenan
Set in Dante with Kabel as display
Vol 1: 464pp; Vol 2: 448pp
28 integrated colour and black-and-white images per volume
Printed and die-cut slipcase
10˝ x 6¾˝
Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty.
The Folio Society has carefully chosen 56 full-page illustrations for this two-volume edition of The Origins of Totalitarianism. Many of the images are of propaganda, both in the form of satirical cartoons – including antisemitic caricatures of Alphonse de Rothschild, Disraeli and Emile Zola – and official materials such as SS recruitment posters. With photographs of momentous events, such as the Alfred Dreyfus trial and military parades from the Nazi film Triumph of the Will, alongside candid shots of peasants and forced labourers in the USSR. The second volume includes a chilling visual chronicle of totalitarian state apparatus and where it leads, from Stalin’s infamous photographs with purged officials airbrushed out, to British war artist Leslie Cole’s painting of the death pits at Bergen-Belsen.
‘Arendt’s words increasingly sound less like a dispatch from another century than a chilling description of the political and cultural landscape we inhabit today.’
The Origins of Totalitarianism is a gripping and unsettling read. With urgency and moral conviction, Arendt drives home the message that freedom is fragile, and no democracy can ignore the terrible lessons of the past. In its analysis of the conditions that led to the Nazi and Soviet regimes, the book covers a vast amount of historical ground. It considers the ever-present undercurrents of antisemitism – from pogroms in Middle Europe to the Dreyfus Affair that divided France, prefiguring Hitler’s Final Solution – along with the industrialised cruelty of 19th-century colonialism in Africa, the rise of empires after the First World War, and the use of political racism to justify the occupation of nations and the mass displacement of people. On an individual level, Arendt shows how social isolation drives populism and susceptibility to propaganda – and most chillingly, how dictatorship and mass hatred can prevail when ‘the distinction between fact and fiction, and the distinction between true and false, no longer exist.’
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