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Hoffer and the True Believer When president Dwight D Eisenhower referred to Eric Hoffers The True Believer in a nationally televised address in the 1950s the public must have thought that mentioning the works of the longshoreman philosopher in a formal address to the nation was an extremely unexpected action Surprisingly Hoffers work would be thoroughly studied and regarded as a superior example of advanced sociological and philosophical thought for years to come Through intense research and observation Hoffer delved into many aspects of mass movement He studied what motivates men form into groups what provokes those groups to act and finally how these groups founded in individuals can control all aspects of life What motivates a mans need to identify with a cause despite the fact that risks are always present Why are masses so effective Throughout The True Believer Hoffer responds to these questions with both reflection and insight He explains historical events while providing the reader with educated conjectures regarding the destination of our current civilization With World War II concluding the McCarthy hearings in progress and the Korean War looming the early 1950s were a very eventful period in American history Although there were many mass movements specific to World War II Hoffer studied a diverse selection of leaders such as Marat Robespierre Lenin Mussolini and Hilter These men and the people they governed fascinated Hoffer He was inclined to further investigate their practices and why people adhered to their policies With McCarthyism running rampant in the United States and many mass movements slowly declining in Europe Hoffers piece had a great deal of significance in the early 1950s and continues to be relevant to into the twenty-first century Although the majority of readers disagree with Hoffers kind of restrained urbane diatribe against faith hope and many forms of charity his message was widely accepted by scholars because of its objective analysis and detached Machiavellian nature Hutchins par2
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