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Hannah Arendt lived through the darkest of times, yet she made it her life’s work to illuminate them. Interrogated in Hitler’s Germany and held at an internment camp in occupied France, she bore direct witness to some of the most catastrophic events of 20th-century history. In her indispensable writings, Arendt trained her fearless intellect on the intractable problems she observed: exile, totalitarianism, the nature of responsibility and the moral problem of evil.
In this immersive new biography, Ann Heberlein shows that these issues were not just theoretical for Arendt – they were also personal. On Love and Tyranny ranges over her dramatic life, from her formative affair with Nazi sympathiser Martin Heidegger to her complex love for her husband Heinrich Blücher, tracking her repeated flights from fascist authorities and eventual journey from statelessness to American citizenship. What emerges is a complex, riveting portrait of an essential thinker, who turned personal and political tumult into work of enduring relevance.