"One of the 100 best books of any kind of the 20th century": First Edition of Hannah Arendt's Masterpiece The Origins of Totalitarianism; Signed by Her
The Origins of Totalitarianism.
Item Number: 86473
New York: Harcourt Brace, 1951.
First edition of this masterpiece, by one of the most important and influential thinkers of the twentieth century. Octavo, original cloth. Signed by Hannah Arendt on the front free endpaper. Near fine in a very good dust jacket with some rubbing and chips. Rare and desirable signed, this is the first example we have seen.
Hannah Arendt is "widely recognized as one of the most original and influential political thinkers of the 20th century." Origins of Totalitarianism, her first book in America, "established Arendt's reputation as a political thinker and has a good claim to be regarded as the key to her work" (Cambridge Companion, 1, 25). In this volume, "her acknowledged masterwork… she not only offered a uniquely clear-sighted, broad account of twentieth-century totalitarian politics and their antecedents, she also provided… a landmark contribution to the discourse of international human rights" (Benhabib, Politics in Dark Times, 83, 1). Consisting of three sections, Antisemitism, Imperialism and Totalitarianism, Origins "was written, simply, to begin what Arendt called 'the interminable dialogue' with a new and horrific form of politics… It was in this book that Arendt began to grapple with the problem of political evil—evil as policy—on an enormous and hitherto unimaginable scale" (Cambridge Companion, 2). Le Monde placed the book among the 100 best books of any kind of the 20th century, while the National Review ranked it #15 on its list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute listed it among the 50 best non-fiction books of the century.