Arendt and America
Situating Arendt within the context of U.S. intellectual, political, and social history, King reveals how Arendt developed a fascination with the political thought of the Founding Fathers. King also re-creates her intellectual exchanges with American friends and colleagues, such as Dwight Macdonald and Mary McCarthy, and shows how her lively correspondence with sociologist David Riesman helped her understand modern American culture and society. In the last section of Arendt and America, King sets out the context in which the Eichmann controversy took place and follows the debate about “the banality of evil” that has continued ever since. As King shows, Arendt’s work, regardless of focus, was shaped by postwar American thought, culture, and politics, including the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War.
For Arendt, the United States was much more than a refuge from Nazi Germany; it was a stimulus to rethink the political, ethical, and historical traditions of human culture. This authoritative combination of intellectual history and biography offers a unique approach for thinking about the influence of America on Arendt’s ideas and also the effect of her ideas on American thought.
1 Guilt and Responsibility
2 The Origins of Totalitarianism in America
3 Rediscovering the World
4 Arendt, Tocqueville, and Cold War America
5 Arendt, Riesman, and America as Mass Society
6 Arendt and Postwar American Thought
7 Reflections/Refractions of Race, 1945–1955
8 Arendt, the Schools, and Civil Rights
9 The Eichmann Case
10 Against the Liberal Grain
11 The Revolutionary Traditions
12 The Crises of Arendt’s Republic
Conclusion—Once More: The Film, Eichmann, and Evil