Tom Shachtman, About Eric Hoffer

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Conversations with Writers

Tom Shachtman, About Eric Hoffer

Hosted by Charles Ruas
Eric Hoffer 1902 - 1983
Eric Hoffer 1902 - 1983

Charles Ruas is joined by authorTom Shachtman to discuss his work, The Life And Thoughts of Eric Hoffer (Hopewell Publications, 2011), famed in his day as the Longshoreman philosopher. Tom Shachtman is known for his prolific output, his social conscience and historical perspective--he is the author of over two dozen books on the subject of American society and history .

In his biography of Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983) Shachtman focuses on the life of this iconoclast whose analysis of American society is pertinent to our contemporary issues. Hoffer defined the term "True Believer" analyzing the similarities between the extreme right and the extreme left, revealing that," blind faith is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves."

He occupied a unique position of appearing conservative to the left, and liberal to the right. Eric Hoffer pointed out to a consumer society that "insatiable desire is a substitute for growth," and to public figures that "fervent hustling is a substitute for purposeful action." Tom Shachtman presents the unconventional life of this independent, self taught thinker who is indeed an American original.

Originally aired 12/19/11
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