ON POWER by Bertrand de Jouvenel


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A brilliant, learned and ponderous analysis which attempts to penetrate the essence of power and the relation of power to society, which has as its general theme the theory that the growth of political power, from ancient governments to the present, has meant the continued degeneration of the status of the individual. Exhibiting impressive scholarship and quoting heavily from Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hobbes, Marx, Hegel, Montesquieu, Kant, Locke, etc.- the author first examines the origins of power from the ethnological point of view, then the emergence of the warrior from an anthropological approach. He then studies the many-faceted growth of power through history, and political power is considered in its relation to militarism, the growth of democracy, the 19th and 20th century rise of the common people with its weakening of the aristocracy, and power as an assailant of the social order, expansionist and dynamic in character. An original thesis which is perhaps comparable to Toynbee although vastly different in its point of view.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1949
Publisher: Viking