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Tom Shachtman, About Eric Hoffer

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.


Conversations with Writers


Host Charles Ruas in conversation with contemporary writers and poets, continuing a stream of intelligent discussion dating back to his legendary days at WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York in the seventies. Ruas is the author of Conversations with American Writers, a Fulbright scholar, and a distinguished French translator. His writing has frequently appeared in both ARTNews and Art in America. His other Clocktower-produced program is Historic Audio From the Archives of Charles Ruas and is one of the most brilliant and extensive collections of historic audio in our archive.