Hamas War

Monday, March 29, 2021

On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, Book Review

On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, by Dr. Ann Heberlein (Author), Alice Menzies (Translator) is a very readable book. I really must make a point of say that. I also have to admit that it is a much, much more interesting and compelling read than I had expected. I had feared it would be a heavy tome in weight and serious verbiage, but it's barely three hundred 300 pages including index and bibliography. And even more important, it's beautifully written and translated for ordinary people like myself. It doesn't read like an academic doctoral thesis. 

So before I tell you about Hannah Arendt as depicted in On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, I want to make it very clear that I highly recommend the book. Buy it for yourself and as gifts for others.

I must confess that besides Arendt's name being vaguely familiar, I knew absolutely nothing about her before reading this biography. Hannah Arendt was born 1906 in Germany and had to flee the Nazis as a young woman, already involved in academic life. At first she thought she could stay in Europe, but  was forced to finally make her way to New York. No doubt an adventurous suspense-filled movie could be made about that part of her life, which included finding her husband and mother after they had all been separated.

It's now the Passover Holiday, which celebrates the exodus from Egypt, though it is said that only one fifth of the Jewish People left with Moses and Aaron. It has always seemed so hard to believe. How could anyone prefer slavery? But, davka, Heberlein tells us that when Arendt and all the other prisoners had the opportunity to leave Camp Gurs, the internment camp in which she had been imprisoned, "only two hundred out of seven thousand" left when they had the opportunity. 

page 105

That's a lot less than one fifth. This fact in On Love and Tyranny is something I've been mentioning a lot when discussing the Haggadah and Passover. 

The prisoners seemed more afraid of freedom than they were of the approaching Nazis. Arendt was in a small minority. 

After trying to find refuge in Europe, she, her mother and husband fled to the United States. It wasn't an easy trip, but they finally arrived. In America they all had to learn a new language and build their careers from scratch. Yes, Hannah Arendt did the impossible and built a very successful life in America.

In  On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, you will learn of her private life, husbands, lovers, philosophical controversies and more. Arendt was a most fascinating woman who survived very dangerous and challenging times.

Product details

  • Publisher : Anansi International; Translation edition (January 5, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 272 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1487008112
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1487008116

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