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Eric Hoffer

" id="whe_lnki_60" title="Chinese-Vietnamese War">Chinese-Vietnamese War of the late 1970s.

In May 1968, about a year after the Six Day War, he wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times titled "Israel's Peculiar Position:"

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one.[16]

Hoffer asks why "everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world" and why Israel should sue for peace after its victory.[16]

Hoffer believed that rapid change is not necessarily a positive thing for a society, and too rapid change can cause a regression in maturity for those who were brought up in a different society. He noted that in America in the 1960s, many young adults were still living in extended adolescence. Seeking to explain the attraction of the New Left protest movements, he characterized them as the result of widespread affluence, which, in his words, "is robbing a modern society of whatever it has left of puberty rites to routinize the attainment of manhood." He saw these puberty rites as essential for self-esteem, and noted that mass movements and juvenile mindsets tend to go together, to the point that anyone, no matter what age, who joins a mass movement immediately begins to exhibit juvenile behavior.

Hoffer further noted that the reason why working-class Americans did not, by and large, join protest movements and subcultures was that they had entry into meaningful labor as an effective rite of passage out of adolescence, while both the very poor who lived on welfare and the affluent were, in his words, "prevented from having a share in the world's work, and of proving their manhood by doing a man's work and getting a man's pay," and thus remained in a state of extended adolescence, lacking in necessary self-esteem, and prone to joining mass movements as a form of compensation. Hoffer suggested that this need for meaningful work as a rite of passage into adulthood could be fulfilled with a two-year civilian national service program (not unlike programs during the Great Depression such as the Civilian Conservation Corps). He wrote: "The routinization of the passage from boyhood to manhood would contribute to the solution of many of our pressing problems. I cannot think of any other undertaking that would dovetail so many of our present difficulties into opportunities for growth."

Hoffer's papers

Hoffer's papers, including 131 of the notebooks he carried in his pockets, were acquired in 2000 by the Hoover Institution Archives. The papers fill 75 feet (23 m) of shelf space. Because Hoffer cultivated an aphoristic style, the unpublished notebooks (dated from 1949 to 1977) contain very significant work. Available for scholarly study since at least 2003, little of their contents has yet been published. A selection of fifty aphorisms, focusing on the development of unrealized human talents through the creative process, appeared in the July 2005 issue of Harper's Magazine.[17]

Published works

1951 The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature of Mass Movements ISBN 0-06-050591-5
1955 The Passionate State of Mind, and Other Aphorisms ISBN 1-933435-09-7
1963 The Ordeal of Change ISBN 1-933435-10-0
1967 The Temper of Our Time
1969 Working and Thinking on the Waterfront: A Journal, June 1958 to May 1959
1971 First Things, Last Things
1973 Reflections on the Human Condition ISBN 1-933435-14-3
1976 In Our Time
1979 Before the Sabbath
1982 Between the Devil and the Dragon: The Best Essays and Aphorisms of Eric Hoffer ISBN 0-06-014984-1
1983 Truth Imagined ISBN 1-933435-01-1


"Conversations with Eric Hoffer," 12 part interview by James Day of KQED, San Franscisco, 1963. "Eric Hoffer: The Passionate State of Mind" with Eric Sevareid, CBS, September 19, 1967 (rebroadcast on November 14, due to popular demand). "The Savage Heart: A Conversation with Eric Hoffer," with Eric Sevareid, CBS, January 28, 1969.

Awards and recognition

  • 1971, May - Honorary Doctorate; Stonehill College
  • 1978 – Bust of Eric Hoffer by sculptor Jonathan Hirschfeld; commissioned by Charles Kittrell and placed in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
  • 1983, February 13 – Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by Ronald Reagan.
  • 1985, September 17 – Skygate unveiling in San Francisco; dedication speech by Eric Sevareid.

Eric Hoffer Award

On the 1st January, 2001, the Eric Hoffer Award for books and prose was launched internationally in his honor.

In 2005, the Eric Hoffer Estate granted its permission for the award. Also in that year Christopher Klim became the award's Chairperson.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Hoffer, Eric". Encyclopædia Britannica, from Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003 Ultimate Reference Suite CD-ROM. Copyright 1994–2002 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. May 30, 2002.
  2. ^ According to longtime companion Lili Fabilli Osborne, executrix of the Hoffer Estate; also noted in personal archives stored at the Hoover Institute.
  3. ^ Knutson, Harold (1984). Annual Obituary 1983. St. James. p. 254.  
  4. ^ Truth Imagined
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ [Truth Imagined p.1 ]
  7. ^ [Truth Imagined]
  8. ^ [Truth Imagined p. 35-39]
  9. ^ Hoover Institution – Hoover Digest – The Longshoreman Philosopher
  10. ^ Star-News – Philosopher Hoffer dies
  11. ^ Thomas Bethell (2012). Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher. Hoover Press. p. 7.  
  12. ^ Rome News-Tribune – Death claims waterfront philosopher
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Awakening of Asia", by Eric Hoffer, The Reporter, June 22, 1954, pp. 16-17""". Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  14. ^ Tomkins, C. (1968). Eric Hoffer; an American odyssey. Dutton. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Temper of Our Time (1967) , by Eric Hoffer". Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Eric Hoffer (July 31, 2006). "Eric Hoffer and the Jews".  
  17. ^ Tom Bethell, "Sparks: Eric Hoffer and the art of the notebook", Harper's Magazine, July 2005, pp. 73–77. See also idem, "The Longshoreman Philosopher", Hoover Digest, 2003.
  18. ^ The Eric Hoffer Award,
  19. ^ The Fifties Spiritual Marketplace: American Religion in a Decade of Conflict by Robert S. Ellwood Publisher: Rutgers University Press ISBN 0-8135-2346-X ISBN 978-0-8135-2346-0 [1]

Further reading

"American Iconoclast: The Life and Times of Eric Hoffer", Shachtman, Tom, Titusville, NJ, Hopewell Publications, 2011. ISBN 978-1-933435-38-1.

  • Eric Hoffer; an American Odyssey Tomkins, Calvin, New York, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1968 ISBN 0-8057-7359-2 Part of Twayne's United States authors series
  • Hoffer's America, Koerner, James D., La Salle, Ill., Library Press, 1973 ISBN 0-912050-45-4
  • Eric Hoffer, Baker, James Thomas. Boston : Twayne, 1982 ISBN 0-8057-7359-2 Twayne's United States authors series
  • Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher, Bethell, Thomas, Stanford, Calif., Hoover Institution Press, 2012 ISBN 0-817914-14-5

External links

  • Eric Hoffer Home Page, publisher for Eric Hoffer reprints
  • Thomas Sowell: The legacy of Eric Hoffer
  • Fabilli and Hoffer Essay Prize
  • Art Of The Notebook – From Eric Hoffer, Paper Notes in a Digital World
  • Tim Madigan. "The True Believer Revisited".   Issue 34 at the Wayback Machine (archived January 8, 2008)
  • Eric Hoffer Quotes – Searchable quotes, with source citations
  • Eric Hoffer in Russia
  • Register of the Eric Hoffer Papers at the Hoover Institute; Stanford University, CA
  • From the Waterfront, a Weekly Standard piece on Hoffer.
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