Crowds and Power

Front Cover
Phoenix, 2000 - 495 pages
2 Reviews
From the destructive power of soccer crowds to the horror of tyrannical rulers, and from Bushmen and Pueblo Indian rain dances to the pilgrimage to Mecca, the author takes readers on a journey through anthropology, psychology, biology, religion and literature. Ranging from the deeply profound to the overtly controversial, from the finger exercises of monkeys to the hallucinations of alcoholics, this book may change forever the way readers look at groups of people and realise their awesome potential to be manipulated for good or for evil. He concludes that "If we would master power we must face command openly and boldly, and search for means to deprive it of its sting".

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Crowds and Power

User Review  - Michael Murray - Goodreads

A thoroughly good, a thorough, and good examination of the phenomena of the crowd, in history. By recent events and research, though, it does seem rather out-of-date, superceded. Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book will take you years to take in. Even though at first the authors approach may seem very unorthodox and complicated, it actually is a huge effort of foreshortening operation through a kind of phenomenological anthropology which simplifies a lot of things. Read this book and la Debord's Société du Spectacle, or Machiavelli's the Prince right after to experience what reading can do to the human mind (your mind.) 

Other editions - View all

About the author (2000)

Elias Canetti was born in Rustschuk, Bulgaria on July 25, 1905 into a Sephardic Jewish family. He was educated in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Vienna in 1929. He wrote novels and plays in German. His works explored the emotions of crowds, the psychopathology of power, and the position of the individual at odds with the society around him. His novels include Auto-da- Fé and Masse und Macht. His plays include Hochzeit, Komödie der Eitelkeit, and Die Befristeten. He also published excerpts from his notebooks, a book of character sketches, and an autobiography. He received numerous awards including the Vienna Prize in 1966, the Critics Prize (Germany) in 1967, the Great Austrian State Prize in 1967, the Buchner Prize in 1972, the Sachs Prize in 1975, the Hebbel Prize in 1980, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981. He died on August 14, 1994.

Bibliographic information