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Showing posts from April, 2008

Book for Consideration: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

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Summary (from Wikipedia):

Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil, commonly called Leviathan is a book written by Thomas Hobbes which was published in 1651. The book concerns the structure of society (as represented figuratively by the frontispiece, showing the state giant made up of individuals), as is evidenced by the full title.

In the book, Thomas Hobbes argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Influenced by the English Civil War, Hobbes wrote that chaos or civil war — situations identified with a state of nature and the famous motto Bellum omnium contra omnes ("the war of all against all") — could only be averted by strong central government. He thus denied any right of rebellion toward the social contract, which would be later added by John Locke and conserved by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. However, Hobbes did discuss the possible dissolution of the State. As the social contract wa…

On Elie Wiesel's Night

Elie Wiesel is one of the foremost writers on the Holocaust, not only because of his vivid memories of the subject, but also because of the nature by which he writes. His novels help to highlight important parts of the human condition through his experiences in the Holocaust. As such, his most seminal work, Night is a necessary reading for any individuals seeking to understand the Holocaust, and especially its effects on individual people. Wiesel’s book provides a great insight into how the Holocaust and especially Nazi policies affected people on the micro level, away from the grand schemes of World War II, a purpose that he fulfills superbly throughout the novel.

Wiesel’s secondary purpose is to simply tell his story as he remembers it, and to that extent the narrative is extremely important to his book. His writing makes the narrative convincing: Wiesel writes in short sentences, but though they lack long-windedness they hold a huge amount of detail. His description of Moshe the Bea…