Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy
Author: John Patrick Diggins
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: July 11, 1996
Max Weber is a fresh look at the life and work of one of the greatest social and political thinkers of the modern era, and the first book to focus on Weber from an American perspective.Ever since World War II, Max Weber has been regarded as a monument to the most conservative and conventional orthodoxies of the social science establishment. Despite the fact that many of Weber's books, foremost among them, Economy and Society and The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, are classics and continue to be read, there has never been a single-volume treatment of Weber's life and thought in English.In reversing this critical neglect, John Patrick Diggins challenges Weber's iconic status and in the process uncovers another side of Weber: one influenced by Nietzche, one whose deep belief in individualism bound him close to the Emersonian tradition in America, one with a Lincoln-like sense of history as tragedy, and one with a sober sense of the responsibilities of the state.Diggins brilliantly connects the critical moments of Weber's life—and in particular, his experience of America—to his most enduring ideas on power, capitalism, bureaucracy, and science. He argues that Weber's emphasis on such topics as rapaciousness, hypocrisy, and deception makes his work timelier than ever in helping to illuminate the dilemmas of modern American politics.