Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
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Books, Articles and Reviews about Herbert Marcuse


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Nick Thorkelson, Herbert Marcuse, Philosopher of Utopia (San Francisco: City Lights Press, 2019), 128p
edited by Paul Buhle and Andrew Lamas, with a forward by Angela Y. Davis

This comics-format biography brings Marcuse’s life, work, and times to a new generation. From his youth in Weimar Germany and early studies with Martin Heidegger, to his emigration from Nazi Germany along with colleagues of the Frankfurt School, to his rise as one of its major theorists along with Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, to his status as a countercultural icon, readers are introduced to the theories and circumstances that made Marcuse into one of the world’s most influential intellectuals.

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Alex Koutsogiannis, "Political Positivism and Political Existentialism. Revisiting Herbert Marcuse," in: Berlin Journal of Critical Theory 3:3(2019), 53-88.

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Werner Sollors, "‘Everybody Gets Fragebogened Sooner or Later’: The Denazification Questionnaire as Cultural Text," in: German Life & Letters 71:2(Apr. 2018), 139-153. 15p.

Disseminated in millions of copies to post‐war Germans, the Allied denazification questionnaire, in its best-known version, asked 131 questions not only about membership of the NSDAP, SS, SA, and fifty other affiliated associations, but also about individuals’ pre-Nazi voting record, implicated relatives, and such data as weight, height, and foreign-language expertise. Erich Kästner and Ina Seidel filled in such a questionnaire in 1945. While its massive circulation made it a site of German cultural memory, it also became a bureaucratic nightmare for those who had to evaluate the piles of these forms in the Allied armies and the German ‘Spruchkammern’. The ʻFragebogenʼ provoked writers on both sides of the Atlantic to represent it in fiction and non‐fiction. Just Scheu composed a song about it, and Wolfgang Borchert, Margret Boveri, Stig Dagerman, David Davidson, Alan Marcus, John Dos Passos, Zelda Popkin, and Ernst von Salomon commented on it in prose, often critically, calling it a merciless catechism of 131 questions or an ideological equivalent of tax returns. Though often perceived as an embodiment of American culture, it had emerged with the help of Franz Neumann and Herbert Marcuse, German Marxist intellectuals in exile, who hoped that denazification would bring about revolutionary change in Germany.

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Peter E. Gordon, Espen Hammer, Axel Honneth (eds), The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School (New York: Routledge, 2019), 596 pages.

The following chapters of this anthology's 39 essays contain substantial discussions of Herbert's work:

3. Psychoanalysis and Critical Theory by Joel Whitebook (32-47)
16. The Frankfurt School and the West German Student Movement by Hans Kundnani (221-234)
19. Weber and the Frankfurt School by Dana Villa (266-281)
20. Heidegger and the Frankfurt School by Cristina Lafont (282-294)
22. Marcuse and the Problem of Repression by Brian O’Connor (311-322)
28. Schelling and the Frankfurt School by Peter Dews (394-409)
32. Idealism, Realism, and Critical Theory by Fred Rush (457-470)
33. Critical Theory and the Environment by Arne Johan Vetlesen (471-485)
37. Critical Theory and Feminism by Amy Allen (528-541)

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Charles Reitz, Ecology and Revolution: Herbert Marcuse and the Challenge of a New World System Today (Critical Interventions)(Routledge, 2018), 208pp.

Ecology and Revolution attempts to understand the economic architecture of wealth extraction that undergirds today’s intensifying inequalities of class, race, and gender, within a revolutionary ecological frame. Relying on newly discovered texts from the Frankfurt Marcuse Archive, this book builds theory and practice for an alternate world system. Reitz develops a GreenCommonWealth Counter-Offensive, a strategy for revolutionary ecological liberation with core features of racial equality, gender equality, liberation of labor, restoration of nature, leisure, abundance, and peace.

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William S. Lind, "The Scourge of Cultural Marxism," in: American Conservative 17:3(May/Jun2018), 12-12. 1p.

Abstract: The author discusses the forceful imposition of cultural Marxism or political correctness or multiculturalism on people as of 2018. Topics covered include the ideology's disguised goal of destroying Western culture and the Christian religion, its historical development, and the contributions of intellectuals Georg Lukacs, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno to the new Marxism. Also noted is political theorist Herbert Marcuse's cultivation of cultural Marxism in American campuses.

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Inge Konik, "Revisiting The 11th Hour in Critical Ecological Times," in: Critical Arts: A South-North Journal of Cultural & Media Studies 32:2(Apr. 2018), 67-82. 16p.

To contribute to a consideration of the societally transformative potential of environmental films, a Marcusean-ecological framework is applied to Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners’s The 11th Hour (2007). First discussed are Herbert Marcuse’s theorisations concerning the potential function of art to precipitate social change. What also receives emphasis is Marcuse’s and other theorists’ related stress on the importance of memory and time to critical thought. The amnesiac mainstream culture that prevents revolt and perpetuates social and ecological harm is challenged through various arguments advancing the necessity of remembering past horrors, non-industrial/non-capitalist times, and alternative futures in order to instigate the transformation of subjectivities and societies. Against this theoretical backdrop The 11th Hour is analysed, first considering published criticisms of the film, before critiquing the film on the grounds that while it evokes alternative registers of time in an environmentally progressive manner, it blunts its critical edge by proposing certain solutions to the climate crisis that dovetail with the ethos and accelerated time of the capitalist-consumerist status quo. Further reflections are then offered on the potential role of film in addressing the climate crisis, and on how an adjusted Marcusean-ecological frame might help to hone the critical edge of such environmentally-centred film art.

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Thomas Klikauer, "Marcuse @ 50!," Extended Book Review in: Capital & Class 42:1(Feb. 2018), 161-165. 5p.

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Maria Kli, "Eros and Thanatos: A Nondualistic Interpretation: The Dynamic of Drives in Personal and Civilizational Development From Freud to Marcuse," in: Psychoanalytic Review 105:1(Feb.2018), p67-89. 23p.

The Freudian theory of drives gave prominence to the idea that there is an inherent principle of entropy, a tendency for dissolution of life, referred to as the Death drive, or Thanatos. Freud recognized a counterbalancing tendency for sustaining life, known as the Life drive, or Eros. The psychoanalytical expounding of the struggle of Eros and Thanatos in the context of the civilizational process sparked the philosophical critique of civilization. Although Freud tended to consider repression an indispensable dimension of this process, the author proposes in this paper that Herbert Marcuse's political critique took Freud's metapsychology further philosophically, suggesting a nondualistic interpretation of Freud's position.

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Marcial González, "Herbert Marcuse's Repudiation of Dialectics: From Reason and Revolution to One-Dimensional Thinking," in: Science & Society Vol. 82, No. 3, pp. 413-439.

Abstract: Marxist dialectics continue to be relevant for both the study of society and political practice—a premise based on an analysis of selected works by Herbert Marcuse. In Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory, published in 1941, Marcuse draws on Hegelian dialectics to defend Marxism, and he criticizes Marxists who have abandoned the dialectic and, consequently, their revolutionary goals. By the 1960s, however, Marcuse himself had shifted from a Hegelian-Marxist standpoint to a New Left rejection of dialectics and class struggle. Even though his work was immensely popular during the 1960s among intellectuals, students and activists on the left, his anti-dialectical theories weakened the analysis and contestation of capitalism during that time. His theories were also symptomatic of a larger trend among New Left intellectuals to abandon Marxism. This critique of Marcuse's later works suggests that for our contemporary moment dialectical Marxism is more strategically viable than Marcuse's 1960s theories of one-dimensionality and the techno-industrial society.
The author is professor of English at UC Berkeley

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Christian Fuchs, "Authoritarian capitalism, authoritarian movements and authoritarian communication," in: Media, Culture & Society 40:5(July 2018), 779-791. 13p.

Paolo Gerbaudo’s book The Mask and the Flag: Populism, Citizenism and Global Protest, whose approach is reflected in his Crosscurrents piece in the issue of Media, Culture & Society at hand, is a response to these societal, political and academic challenges. This CrossCurrents comment asks, I ask, the following: Why is it that right-wing authoritarian populism in recent times has become much more popular than left-wing movements? How do right-wing authoritarian movements communicate? Why is it that right-wing political communication strategies seem to garner and result in mass support? The critical theory of authoritarianism advanced by the Frankfurt School and related authors on fascism, Nazism, and the authoritarian personality help us to critically analyse the communication of authoritarianism. In this context, particularly the works by Franz Leopold Neumann, Erich Fromm, Theodor W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Leo Löwenthal, and Willhelm Reich are relevant.

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Renata Bascelli, Per una filosofia concreta. Alle radici del pensiero di Marcuse (Clinamen, 2018), 132 pages.

L’esigenza di una “filosofia concreta” è il motivo che ispira costantemente la riflessione di Herbert Marcuse, dai primi scritti, che costituiscono l’oggetto d’analisi del presente lavoro, sino alle opere della maturità. Ed è nella prospettiva di quella filosofia, in cui il pensare mai appare disgiunto dall’agire, che risultano centrali concetti quali ideologia, verità, utopia, azione radicale, dialettica, Esserci, esistenza, vita, bisogno, lavoro, essenza, storicità. L’autrice pone in evidenza come la riflessione giovanile di Marcuse appaia ad esito di non marginali influenze hegeliane, marxiane, diltheyane, heideggeriane ed al contempo determini il preludio della originale rielaborazione consegnata ai testi di più chiara notorietà: L’uomo a una dimensione; Eros e civiltà.

Il pensiero di Marcuse, fin dalle sue origini, in virtù della lucida lungimiranza che lo connota, può ancora costituire una lezione per il mondo contemporaneo e, più in generale, disegnare un discorso fon- dato razionalmente nonché orientato verso la prassi quale unica strada percorribile al fine di affrontare, e forse tentare di risolvere, la crisi totale che attanaglia l’umanità di oggi.

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Ferreira de Souza, Juliano Bonamigo, Ontologie et politique dans les premiers écrits de Herbert Marcuse (MA Thesis, Université catholique de Louvain, 2017), 117 pages. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/thesis:10232

Abstract:
Notre essai investigue la genèse des premiers écrits de Herbert Marcuse, rédigés entre 1928 et 1932, qui montrent comment l’auteur opère une lecture des travaux de Martin Heidegger et de Karl Marx pour bâtir une théorie philosophique propre. Ainsi, notre hypothèse est que Marcuse a esquissé un projet de philosophie de l’action entre les années 1920 et 1930. Pour traiter le sujet, nous avons divisé ce mémoire en trois parties. Tout d’abord, nous analysons le débat autour de l’historicité en Allemagne, ainsi que la naissance, chez Wilhelm Dilthey et Heidegger, de la notion d’historicité. Ensuite, nous nous concentrons sur les essais philosophiques marcusiens produits entre 1928 et 1931, dans lesquels l’auteur entreprend le projet de philosophie concrète où existence et matérialisme historiques sont harmonisés en guise d’une théorie de l’action politique. Finalement, nous nous concentrons sur les Manuscrits économico-philosophiques de 1844, de Karl Marx, et sur l’interprétation qu’en fait Marcuse en 1932, marquant un changement dans le fondement de l’action au sein de son projet.

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Terry Maley (ed), One-Dimensional Man 50 Years On (Fernwood Publishing, 2017), 252p.

This collection, edited and introduced by York University Scholar Terry Maley, includes papers from a 2014 conference at Brandeis University. Contributors assess the key themes in Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man from a diverse range of critical perspectives, including feminist, ecological, Indigenous and anti-capitalist. In light of the current struggles for emancipation from neoliberalism in Canada and across the globe, this critical look at Marcuse's influential work illustrates its relevance today and introduces his work to a new generation.

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Robert Kirsch and Sarah Surak (eds), Marcuse in the Twenty-First Century: Radical Politics, Critical Theory, and Revolutionary Praxis (Routledge, 2017), 160p.

This book engages the critical theory of political philosopher Herbert Marcuse to imagine spaces of resistance and liberation from the repressive forces of late capitalism. Marcuse, an influential counterculture voice in the 1960s, highlighted the "smooth democratic unfreedom" of postwar capitalism, a critique that is well adapted to the current context. The compilation begins with a previously unpublished lecture delivered by Marcuse in 1966 addressing the inadequacy of philosophy in its current form, arguing how it may be a force for liberation and social change. This lecture provides a theoretical mandate for the volume’s original contributions from international scholars engaging how topics such as higher education, aesthetics, and political organization can contribute to the project of building a critical rationality for a qualitatively better world, offering an alternative to the bleak landscape of neoliberalism. The essays in this volume as whole engage the current context with an urgency appropriate to the problems facing an encroaching authoritarianism in political society with an interdisciplinary lens that speaks to the complexity of the problems facing modern society. The chapters originally published as a special issue in New Political Science.

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Walker, Margath A. 2015 “On critical theory, liberation, and Herbert Marcuse: an interview with Arnold L. Farr” Society and Space Open Site

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Nancy J. Holland, "Looking Backwards: A Feminist Revisits Herbert Marcuse's 'Eros and Civilization'," in: Hypatia 26:1 (Winter 2011), pp. 65-78.

This paper reconsiders Marcuse's Eros and Civilization from the perspective of Gayle Rubin's classic article "The Traffic in Women." The primary goals of this comparison are to investigate the social and psychological mechanisms that perpetuate the archaic sex/gender system Rubin describes under current conditions of post-industrial capitalism; to open possible new avenues of analysis and liberatory praxis based on these authors' applications of Marxist insights to cultural interpretations of Freud's writings; and to make clearer the role sexual repression continues to play in all forms of oppression, even in a public world seemingly saturated with sex.

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John Abromeit, Left Heideggerianism or Phenomenological Marxism? Reconsidering Herbert Marcuse's Critical Theory of Technology in Constellations, Vol 17 Issue 1, pages 87-106 (March 2010)

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Whitebook, Joel (2004). The marriage of Marx and Freud: Critical Theory and psychoanalysis. In Fred Leland Rush (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Critical Theory. Cambridge University Press. pp. 74--102.

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John Abromeit, W. Mark Cobb (editors) Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader, 1st Edition (Routledge, 2003) 288 pgs.

Contents | Introductory Remarks | Contributors |

Berkeley Conference of Nov 1998 - 15 of 27 contributions to the conference are published in this book

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The Legacy of Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader is a collection of brand new papers by seventeen Marcuse scholars, which provides a comprehensive reassessment of the relevance of Marcuse's critical theory at the beginning of the 21st century.

Although best known for his reputation in critical theory, Herbert Marcuse's work has had impact on areas as diverse as politics, technology, aesthetics, psychoanalysis and ecology. This collection addresses the contemporary relevance of Marcuse's work in this broad variety of fields and from an international perspective.

In Part One, veteran scholars of Marcuse and the Frankfurt school examine the legacy of various specific areas of Marcuse's thought, including the quest for radical subjectivity, the maternal ethic and the negative dialectics of imagination. Part Two focuses on a very new trend in Marcuse scholarship: the link between Marcuse's ideas and environmental thought. The third part of this collection is dedicated to the work of younger Marcuse scholars, with the aim of documenting Marcuse's reception among the next generation of critical theorists. The final section of the book contains recollections on Marcuse's person rather than his critical theory, including an informative look back over his life by his son, Peter.

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This review was available on the site now-defunct website (http://www.stanford.edu/~flsamson/review-marcuse-essay.html) from ca. 2001 to spring 2004.

It was written by Frank Samson III, a sociology graduate student at Stanford University.

Archived on the marcuse.org, October 2004.

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Kevin Anderson, "On Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory: A Critical Appreciation of Herbert Marcuse's Reason and Revolution, Fifty Years Later," in: Sociological Theory 11:3 (Nov. 1993), pp. 243-267

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C. Fred Alford, "'Eros and Civilization' after Thirty Years: A Reconsideration in Light of Recent Theories of Narcissism," in: Theory and Society 16:6(Nov. 1987), 869-890.

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Kaelin, E. F., Herbert Marcuse, "The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics" (Book Review) , Art Journal, 41:2 (1981:Summer) p.180

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Müller, Gert, Herbert Marcuse: An Essay on Liberation (Book Review) , Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung, 26:1 (1972:Jan./März) p.122-125

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Power, Paul F. “On Civil Disobedience in Recent American Democratic Thought.” American Political Science Review 64, no. 1 (1970): 35–47.

Extract: Theoretical discussions of civil disobedience on ethical and political grounds received special attention in this country during the Nuremberg trials, the security and loyalty controversies of the 1950's and the pre-arms control years of nuclear power. A fourth wave of interest formed after the early civil rights protests and a fifth is appearing to consider dissent from national policies on the Vietnam War. In this paper civil disobedience is viewed from a trough between the fourth and most recent wave. The phenomenon is interpreted with selected ideas from the study of political obligation and unconventional dissent. The essay first assesses recent American analysis of civil disobedience to determine what the criteria should be to distinguish it from other forms of political action and to discover its political ethics. Secondly, there is an attempt to answer the question: Is there any appreciable service that carefully defined civil disobedience might perform in American democratic thought? The complete enterprise is provoked by a need to examine new strategies for democratic citizenship in a time when the deficiencies of American political life are becoming known to increasing numbers and varieties of people instead of remaining the preserve of enlightened elites.

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Clarence Morris "On Liberation And Liberty: Marcuse's And Mill's Essays Compared" in: University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 118:5 (Apr., 1970),

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Stanley O. Hoerr, Jr, "Review of An Essay on Liberation", in: The Review of Metaphysics Volume 23, Issue 3, March 1970

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Henry W. Ehrmann, "The Agony of Utopia", in: Polity, 2:3(Spring, 1970), pp. 380-391.

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Crownfield, David in: The North American Review, 255:3 (Fall, 1970), pp. 70-76.

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Salomon, Elisa, Marcuse, "An Essay on Liberation" (Book Review), in: Cinéaste, 2,4(Spring 1969), pp. 21-22.

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Review of An Essay on Liberation by Richard Regan

REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS 28:663+ July 1969

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F. Piselli, "Revisione di Saggio sulla liberazione" in: Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica, 61:6 (Nov.-Dic. 1969), p. 793

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Macdonald, H. Malcolm, Marcuse, "An Essay on Liberation" (Book Review), Social Science Quarterly, 50:3 (1969:Dec.) p.768

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Howe, Irving, Herbert Marcuse or Milovan Djilas? (Book Review), Harper's Magazine, 239:1430 (1969:July) p.84

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Antonio Escohotado: Marcuse: Utopía y razón. Alianza-Editorial. Madrid, 1969; 196

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Boulding, Kenneth E., "Tragic Nonsense", in: New Republic 160:13(Mar. 29, 1969), 28-30

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Andrew Hacker, review of Eros and Civilization, New York Times Book Review (March 10, 1968).

"Marcuse's books emblazen the apartments and arguments of the New Left. While today's radical politics are by no means a student monopoly, there is nevertheless a campus atmosphere pervading most of the discussions and demonstrations of that movement...To become the foremost literary symbol of the New Left is no mean accomplishment; many of the movement's adherents are both informed and intelligent, and they have had their pick of an impressive literature. Thus the choice of Marcuse testifies not only to his spirit of engagement but also to a profundity and breadth of vision which are lacking in otherwise admired authors as C. Wright Mills, Paul Goodman, Norman O. Brown, and Erich Fromm."

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"Da ontologia à tecnologia. As tendências da sociedade industrial" is a Portuguese translation of the 1960 French article "De l’ontologie à la technologie: Les tendances de la société industrielle," in: Arguments (Paris), vol. 4, no. 18, p. 54-59. The translation is published in: Revista Dialectus 8:14(Jan-July 2019), 310-319. It was translated by João Paulo Andrade Dias. The journal Revista Dialectus is an electronic academic journal associated with Philosophy Department of Universidade Federal do Ceará.

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Richard M. Jones, "The Return of the Un-Repressed" in The American Imago 15:1(Spring 1958), 175-180.

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Herbert Fingarette, "Eros and Utopia," in: The Review of Metaphysics 10:4(1957), 660-665.

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Kurt H. Wolff, review of Eros and Civilization, in: American Journal of Sociology 62:3(1956), 342-343

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Hans Kohn review of Reason and Revolution, in: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 217(Sep, 1941), 178-179

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