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March 10, 2021


#Non-fiction Hannah Arendt

by N@ncy



  1. The Origins of Totalitarianism  was published in 1951.
  2. It was Hannah Arendt’s first major work.
  3. She describes and analyzes Nazism and Stalinism as the
  4. ….major totalitarian political movements of the first half of the 20th century.
  5. The book is regularly listed as
  6. one of the best non-fiction books of the 20th century.



  1. This is not an easy read.
  2. It is encyclopedic and exhausting
  3. .…yet I plodded through it.
  4. It took me a month to read in installments.
  5. While reading this book I could not help comparing some items
  6. to Trump and his ‘Trumpism’.
  7. It felt like Arendt’s writing was part of
  8. …Stephen Miller’s playbook! (close Trump advisor)
  9. Arendt discusses  a few subjects as
  10. …antisemitism, Disraeli, Dreyfus Affair, Algiers and Imperialism.
  11. But I enjoyed the last chapters the most:
  12. The Totalitarian Moment (ch 11) and Totalitarianism Power (ch 12).


  1. Arendt helps us understand what Trump is not:
  2. He’s not a totalitarian.
  3. There are a number of ideas in Hannah Arendt’s work
  4. …that I think are very helpful in understanding what Trump is.
  5. While Trump is not a totalitarian in her understanding,
  6. he incorporates what she calls “elements” of totalitarianism.
  7. She thinks that one of the core elements of
  8. …totalitarianism is that it’s based in a movement.


  1. I had to stop and think what I heard on
  2. 14 February after Trump was acquitted:
  3. “Our historic, patirotic movement #MAGA had only just begun.”
  4. 19 January Trump’s final address at the White house:
  5. The movement we started is only just beginning.
  6. There’s never been anything like it”.
  7. I never heard a President of the US ever refer to his
  8. time in office as a “movement”!


  1. Just think about it...
  2. Trump calls  himself the mouthpiece of a movement.
  3. That’s a very dangerous position for a politician.
  4. Because it actually means that
  5. …what he cares about more is
  6. …the mobilization of people (the Base)
  7. …rather than working on a platform about a  particular aim
  8. …to help the nation and its citizens!


  1. If you want to read how a leader can manipulate the
  2. masses (…the Base) the book is a fascinating read.
  3. Chapters about Imperialism and Race and Bureaucracy
  4. …I skimmed, there’s a lot of history in this book.
  5. I was more interested in the concept of Totalitarianism.
  6. I took from this book what I needed…but it must emphasize
  7. …it is NOT an easy read…it is a challenge.
  8. I preferred “How Fascism Works”  (2018) by Jason Stanley.



My notes  from

February 12, 2021 –

page 28

5.31%  Every monarch had a court Jew to handle financial business.
Later we read how of the establishment of the house of the Rothschilds had a monopoly for the issuance of government loans.
Ms Arendt will soon explain…why countries developed such a strong policy of antisemitism.

February 14, 2021 –

page 88

16.7% The shift from Jews in banking to professional/intellectual professions was caused by the growth of nations. Several important Jewish banking houses were too small to meet the new financial demands. (Ch 2)

February 15, 2021 –

page 120

22.77%  Push through the first ‘less engaging’ pages and you will discover
the book really gets interesting in chapter 3!
Arendt speaks about Jews….but between the lines she is speaking about herself: The majority of assimilated Jews lived in a twilight of favor and misfortune. Resigned to the fact that…to be a Jew meant to belong either to an OVERPRIVILEGED upper class…or an UNDERPRIVILEGED mass.

February 18, 2021 –

page 350

66.41%  I was shocked after reading:
“NOT Stalin’s and Hitler’s skill in the art of lying
BUT the way they were able to organize the masses into a collective unit to back up their lies with impressive magnificence.”

Now, just let that sink in….and remember what happened in USA “The Big Lie” and I’m sure you can see that S’s and H’s playbook is being read by politicians and Fox News!”

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 10 2021

    I have a copy of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil for one day. But I suspect like this book, it will be quite dense with history and theory and will need more time than I have right now to do it justice.


    • Mar 11 2021

      Ms Arendt is very smart but her thoughts are very dense and she does not ‘water them down’ for the average reader who just thinks I’ll read this book quickly! I learned to skim the history if need be…and trained myself with her writing to jump to the first sentence of each paragraph. She does use that sentence often to write her ‘core messaage’. Not ready for another one of her books…not yet.

      Liked by 1 person


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