Posts Tagged 'freedom'

The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, by Erich Fromm

Regarded as one of Fromm’s masterworks, this book mixes psychology, palaeontology and anthropology in its endeavour to address a simple question: why are humans violent? The underlying answer for Fromm is rooted in this social animal’s general condition of unfreedom since the Neolithic revolution some 10,000 years ago. In lengthy meanderings he takes in animal behavioural science, sketches the structure of Neolithic society and produces psychological biographies of Hitler, Stalin and Himmler. But for large parts of the book his central argument takes a back seat. While much of the material is fascinating its fragmentary character surrenders its polemical force. SS

Pimlico; 1997; 688 pages

Pimlico
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Life and Fate, by Vasily Grossman

This novel is centred on Stalingrad during the second world war. Soviet and Nazi troops fight street by street. In house 6/1 normal military discipline has broken down amongst the Russian troops, and yet they repel every attack. The taste of freedom has emboldened them. The cast of characters takes us beyond Stalingrad, to Nazi death camps and villages deep in the Russian hinterland. Grossman’s first hand experiences of the war give this book a raw descriptive power and a deep humanism. It is about human beings struggling for freedom even when “life is full to the brim with need”. JM

Vintage; 2006; 864 pages


Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers. George Orwell

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