The True Believer

The True Believer

Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

Book - 2002
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A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises examining mass movements--from Christianity in its infancy to the national uprisings of modern times. His analysis of the psychology of mass movements is a brilliant and frightening study of the mind of the fanatic.
Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial Modern Classics, [2002]
Edition: First Perennial Modern Classics edition.
Copyright Date: ©2002
ISBN: 9780060505912
Branch Call Number: 303.484 HOFFER
Characteristics: xiii, 177 pages ; 20 cm.


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Apr 09, 2019

further reading:
“Big Lies : The Right-wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth”
Joe Conason
Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin's Press 2003
ISBN: 9780312315603, 0312315600
“Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power The Rise and Risks of the New Conservative Hate Culture”
Gerry Spence
St. Martin's Griffin 1st edition, 2007, pbk, 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0312373902, ISBN-13: 978-0312373900
“Blueprint for Theocracy : The Christian Right's Vision for America : Examining a Radical Worldview and Its Roots”
James C. Sanford
Metacomet Books 2014, hc, 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0974704202, ISBN-13: 978-0974704203
“Democracy and Its Crisis”
A.C. Grayling 1949-
Oneworld Publications 2017, hc, 192 pages
ISBN-10: 1786072890, ISBN-13: 978-1786072894
Anthony Clifford Grayling CBE, 1949-
“Enemies of Freedom : Understanding Right-Wing Authoritarianism”
Robert Anthony “Bob” Altemeyer 1940-
Jossey Bass Social and Behavioral Science Series
Jossey-Bass 1st edition 1988, hc, 378 pages
ISBN-10: 1555420974, ISBN-13: 978-1555420970
“Fixing America : Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media, and the Religious Right”
John Buchanan (author), John McConnell (foreword)
Trine Day 2005, pbk, 270 pages
ISBN-10: 0975290681, ISBN-13: 978-0975290682
“F.U.B.A.R. : America's Right-wing Nightmare”
Samuel L. Seder 1966- and Stephen Sherrill 1961-
Harper 2006, hc, ISBN-10: 0060846712, ISBN-13: 978-00608467182006
“God's Own Party : The Making of the Christian Right”
Daniel K. Williams
Oxford University Press 2010, hc, 400 pages
ISBN-10: 0195340841, ISBN-13: 978-0195340846
“Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States”
Warren J. Blumenfeld, Khyati Y. Joshi, Ellen E. Fairchild (contributors)
Sense Pub, 2008, ISBN-10: 9087906773, ISBN-13: 978-9087906771

Dec 27, 2018

Ribbonfarm reading list

Jun 15, 2017

The comment below is very interesting in that it unwittingly illustrates Hoffer's views so eloquently.

Sep 22, 2014

It is estimated that algore is worth a half a billion dollars, most of which has been generated by his global warming scam. It makes no difference to observe that the polar caps have twice as much ice as they did in the nineties when Gore predicted they would disappear by today. The truth makes no difference, the only important thing is to be part of the movement much as Hoffer explains in this brilliant book.

Aug 03, 2014

Fascinating, fresh and relevant. If you only read one book this year, choose this one. Powerful insights for anyone who seeks to understand why and how people become fanatics - about left or right politics, religion, or anything else. A must read.
Mark Manson's review:
What It’s About: The True Believer discusses why people give in to fanaticism, fundamentalism, or extremist ideologies.
The book is perhaps the most to-the-point and non-bullshitty philosophical work I’ve ever read. And the power of Hoffer’s short sentences can take your breath away. See below.
Notable Quotes:
“The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.”
“The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”
“Freedom aggravates at least as much as it alleviates frustration. Freedom of choice places the whole blame of failure on the shoulders of the individual. And as freedom encourages a multiplicity of attempts, it unavoidably multiplies failure.”
Bonus Points For: It was apparently one of President Eisenhower’s favorite books.
If This Book Could Be Summarized in An Image, That Image Would Be: An open hand, heading straight for the side of your face.
Read This Book If…
…you want to know why people give up their identities for some insane cause.
…you wonder how war and revolutions are even possible.
…you want to read something smart but don’t want to wade through hundreds of pages of gibberish and academic jargon to understand it.

Apr 09, 2012

I had to look back a few times to check the original publish date (1951) because this book read like it was written in 2011, with the Arab Spring, Occupy, Tea Party, shock radio and fundamentalist religions in mind. It is a collection of thoughts (not scientific inquiry) and Hoffer carefully notes this. A must read - this will be one that I buy for the home library.


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