Recently there has been an extraordinary international revival of
interest in Hannah Arendt. She was extremely perceptive about the
dark tendencies in contemporary life that continue to plague us.
She developed a concept of politics and public freedom that serves
as a critical standard for judging what is wrong with politics
today. Richard J. Bernstein argues that Arendt should be read today
because her penetrating insights help us to think about both the
darkness of our times and the sources of illumination. He explores
her thinking about statelessness and refugees; the right to have
rights; her critique of Zionism; the meaning of the banality of
evil; the complex relations between truth, lying, power, and
violence; the tradition of the revolutionary spirit; and the urgent
need for each of us to assume responsibility for our political
lives. This short and very readable book will be of great interest
to anyone who wants to understand the forces that are shaping our
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