Long known as a pioneer in the sociological study of communications and of the middle class, and as a prominent member of the New School's "University in Exile," Hans Speier here presents a humanist view of the darker side of contemporary civilization and offers insights into the nature of social order and the role of uncommon people in it: the Hero, the Fool, and the political philosopher. After an autobiographical discussion of the evolution of his works, this collection of seminal essays that span his whole career surveys five areas of thought: social theory, war and militarism, public opinion and propaganda, the history of literature, and "the present and the future." Reflecting the range of his intellectual concerns and his experience as a refugee from Nazi Germany, his writings examine honor and social structure, hero worship, militarism in the eighteenth century, psychological warfare, and Shakespeare's The Tempest, among other topics.
`written by a sociologist of uncommonly broad learning who expresses himself with beguiling lucidity ... Applied to literature, Speier's wit and wisdom produce particularly arresting insights.'