Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer”Thursday, January 21, 2010
I am ashamed to say I have never read the book.
A reader, Alex, just dropped a comment about the book on my blog. I understand that Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements” is a splendid read.
Butler Shaffer and I were in one of those great bookstores in Stillwater, Minnesota a few months ago, and we came across an old (expensive first edition) copy of that book. $42! Butler said I _have to_ read it. I don’t know how I got by not reading that book. Butler told me the story of Hoffer being a longshoreman. Since then, I have read much online about Hoffer, his views, and his work.
He was actually quite productive, writing for Saturday Evening Post, Harper’s Magazine, and other notable publications of the time. He was called the “bare knuckle philosopher.” Here’s an interview with Hoffer from …… People magazine? When asked, “What is this country’s major problem right now?” … he answered: “Inflation. President Ford saw that, but not enough other people realize it. Inflation can destroy a society. It produced Hitler, for example.” Yes, I had a “Whip Inflation Now” badge that I wore as a kid.
I just recently ordered a real cheap copy from Amazon and I have been looking through the book, though I have not read it cover to cover just yet. One of my favorite Hoffer quotes: “A heresy can spring only from a system that is in full vigor.”