The Opium of the Intellectuals

The Opium of the Intellectuals

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Raymond Aron's 1955 masterpiece The Opium of the Intellectuals, is one of the great works of twentieth- century political reflection. Aron shows how noble ideas can slide into the tyranny of "secular religion" and emphasizes how political thought has the profound responsibility of telling the truth about social and political reality-in all its mundane imperfections and tragic complexities. Aron explodes the three "myths" of radical thought: the Left, the Revolution, and the Proletariat. Each of these ideas, Aron shows, are ideological, mystifying rather than illuminating. He also provides a fascinating sociology of intellectual life and a powerful critique of historical determinism in the classically restrained prose for which he is justly famous. For this new edition, prepared by Daniel J. Mahoney and Brian C. Anderson as part of Transaction's ongoing "Aron Project," political scientist Harvey Mansfield provides a luminous introduction that underscores the permanent relevance of Aron's work. The new edition also includes as an appendix "Fanaticism, Prudence, and Faith," a remarkable essay that Aron wrote to defend Opium from its critics and to explain further his view of the proper role of political thinking. The book will be of interest to all students of political theory, history, and sociology.

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  • Paperback | 388 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 28mm | 580.6g
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, NJUnited States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0765807009
  • 9780765807007
  • 192,653

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"Raymond Aron's analysis of French intellectual culture of the 1940s and 1950s retains its relevance inot the 21st century, helping to illuminate the minds of intellectuals so that we can understand their penchant for irrational utopianism. Althought the particular controversies have changed somewhat, our modern intellectuals partake of the same opium." - "Ideas on Liberty"

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