New Books Network

70 years ago, the philosopher Theodore Adorno and a team of scholars released a massive book titled The Authoritarian Personality (Verso, 2019), which attempted...

70 years ago, the philosopher Theodore Adorno and a team of scholars released a massive book titled The Authoritarian Personality (Verso, 2019), which attempted to map the psychological and emotional dynamics of those who might find themselves seduced by authoritarianism.

The book synthesized both empirical psychology and sociology, relying on massive sets of data, with psychoanalytic models of personality so as to approach their subjects with a set of deep hermeneutic tools. The result is a book that is both both data-driven and speculative, and covers a vast swatch of theoretical territory.

It was recently republished by Verso books, with a new introduction by Peter Gordon.

Charles Clavey is a lecturer in social studies at Harvard University. His research focuses on critical theory and the history of authoritarianism. His writing has appeared in a number of places including Modern Intellectual History, The LA Review of Books and The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.