Hitler's Philosophers: Book summary and reviews of Hitler's Philosophers by Yvonne Sherratt

Hitler's Philosophers

By Yvonne Sherratt

Hitler's Philosophers
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  • Published in USA  May 2013,
    328 pages.

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Book Summary

Hitler had a dream to rule the world, not only with the gun but also with his mind. He saw himself as a "philosopher-leader" and astonishingly gained the support of many intellectuals of his time. In this compelling book, Yvonne Sherratt explores Hitler's relationship with philosophers and uncovers cruelty, ambition, violence, and betrayal where least expected - at the heart of Germany's ivory tower.

Sherratt investigates international archives, discovering evidence back to the 1920s of Hitler's vulgarization of noble thinkers of the past, including Kant, Nietzsche, and Darwin. She reveals how philosophers of the 1930s eagerly collaborated to lend the Nazi regime a cloak of respectability: Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, and a host of others. And while these eminent men sanctioned slaughter, Semitic thinkers like Walter Benjamin and opponents like Kurt Huber were hunted down or murdered. Many others, such as Theodor Adorno and Hannah Arendt, were forced to flee as refugees. The book portrays their fates, to be dispersed across the world as the historic edifice of Jewish-German culture was destroyed by Hitler.

Sherratt not only confronts the past; she also tracks down chilling evidence of continuing Nazi sympathy in Western Universities today.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A brilliantly conceived work of genuine scholarship, this book is fascinating and important." - Publishers Weekly

"Cultural historians will be absorbed by this study of the easy adoption of the Nazi meme among a coterie of intellectuals who might have been expected to know better. Useful as part of philosophy or ethics curricula." - Library Journal

"A straightforward work that only hints at the underlying questions of moral failing supported by many of these philosophical works." " - Kirkus

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Yvonne Sherratt was educated at Cambridge University, was a fellow of Corpus Christi College and most recently taught at New College, Oxford. She is author of Adorno's Positive Dialectic and Continental Philosophy of Social and Political Science.

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