Crowds and Power (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)

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9780140184303: Crowds and Power (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)

Drawing on his experiences in Vienna in the 1930s and a range of material from anthropology, biology and the culture of many ages and every continent, Canetti offers insights into the psychology of the crowd, the variety of religious experience, the paranoia of rulers and the pathology of power.

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Review:

"Canetti dissolves politics into pathology, treating society as a mental activity--a barbaric one, of course--that must be decoded."--Susan Sontag

Canetti dissolves politics into pathology, treating society as a mental activity--a barbaric one, of course--that must be decoded. "Susan Sontag""

Canetti dissolves politics into pathology, treating society as a mental activity--a barbaric one, of course--that must be decoded. Susan Sontag"

From the Publisher:

Simon Schama explains why this is one of his favourites...
Born in Bulgaria and died in Hampstead, his first language the Hebrew-medieval Spanish hybrid, Ladino, Canetti was one of the most eccentric and extraordinary writers of the last century. His great novel, Auto-da-Fe will give anyone with a passion for books serious and prolonged nightmares.

Crowds and Power puts its finger unerringly on one of the great motor forces of modern history: the capacity of crowds to behave as more than the sum of their parts; to take on the characteristics of a collective organism, with a capacity to digest, multiply and kill. Himself a survivor of horrors (Canetti left Germany in 1938), his exacting eye takes in the grim retrospect of Europe but puts it in the context of tribal rituals in Africa, Amazonia and Australia.

Like most of the really great works of history, Canettiís work, part ethnography, part social psychology, defies neat classification. But its message, not always welcome is - this too is what itís like to be part of the human pack.

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