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For Persepolis and Logicomix fans, a New Yorker cartoonist's page-turning graphic biography of the fascinating Hannah Arendt, the most prominent philosopher of the twentieth century. One of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century and a hero of political thought, the largely unsung and often misunderstood Hannah Arendt is best known for her landmark 1951 book on o For Persepolis and Logicomix fans, a New Yorker cartoonist's page-turning graphic biography of the fascinating Hannah Arendt, the most prominent philosopher of the twentieth century. One of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century and a hero of political thought, the largely unsung and often misunderstood Hannah Arendt is best known for her landmark 1951 book on openness in political life, The Origins of Totalitarianism, which, with its powerful and timely lessons for today, has become newly relevant. She led an extraordinary life. This was a woman who endured Nazi persecution firsthand, survived harrowing "escapes" from country to country in Europe, and befriended such luminaries as Walter Benjamin and Mary McCarthy, in a world inhabited by everyone from Marc Chagall and Marlene Dietrich to Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. A woman who finally had to give up her unique genius for philosophy, and her love of a very compromised man--the philosopher and Nazi-sympathizer Martin Heidegger--for what she called "love of the world." Compassionate and enlightening, playful and page-turning, New Yorker cartoonist Ken Krimstein's The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt is a strikingly illustrated portrait of a complex, controversial, deeply flawed, and irrefutably courageous woman whose intelligence and "virulent truth telling" led her to breathtaking insights into the human condition, and whose experience continues to shine a light on how to live as an individual and a public citizen in troubled times.


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For Persepolis and Logicomix fans, a New Yorker cartoonist's page-turning graphic biography of the fascinating Hannah Arendt, the most prominent philosopher of the twentieth century. One of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century and a hero of political thought, the largely unsung and often misunderstood Hannah Arendt is best known for her landmark 1951 book on o For Persepolis and Logicomix fans, a New Yorker cartoonist's page-turning graphic biography of the fascinating Hannah Arendt, the most prominent philosopher of the twentieth century. One of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century and a hero of political thought, the largely unsung and often misunderstood Hannah Arendt is best known for her landmark 1951 book on openness in political life, The Origins of Totalitarianism, which, with its powerful and timely lessons for today, has become newly relevant. She led an extraordinary life. This was a woman who endured Nazi persecution firsthand, survived harrowing "escapes" from country to country in Europe, and befriended such luminaries as Walter Benjamin and Mary McCarthy, in a world inhabited by everyone from Marc Chagall and Marlene Dietrich to Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. A woman who finally had to give up her unique genius for philosophy, and her love of a very compromised man--the philosopher and Nazi-sympathizer Martin Heidegger--for what she called "love of the world." Compassionate and enlightening, playful and page-turning, New Yorker cartoonist Ken Krimstein's The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt is a strikingly illustrated portrait of a complex, controversial, deeply flawed, and irrefutably courageous woman whose intelligence and "virulent truth telling" led her to breathtaking insights into the human condition, and whose experience continues to shine a light on how to live as an individual and a public citizen in troubled times.

30 review for The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    I received the Advance Reading Copy in the mail from the publisher.... Many thanks to Nicole at Bloomsbury Publishing. I requested a physical copy rather than an ebook given that it’s a graphic biography. It’s fascinating....and ‘for me’....the best part of this book is how much it opened my eyes to Hannah Arendt. I admit not knowing much about her, and this book was the perfect introduction. But besides learning a great deal, and being really enriching...its chirpy & perky, too. Incredible how m I received the Advance Reading Copy in the mail from the publisher.... Many thanks to Nicole at Bloomsbury Publishing. I requested a physical copy rather than an ebook given that it’s a graphic biography. It’s fascinating....and ‘for me’....the best part of this book is how much it opened my eyes to Hannah Arendt. I admit not knowing much about her, and this book was the perfect introduction. But besides learning a great deal, and being really enriching...its chirpy & perky, too. Incredible how many famous people she was friends with — while always smoking her cigarettes. Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein, Marc Chagall to name a few. Hannah Arendt was the most prominent women philosopher in the 20th century. She was best known for her book “The Origins of Totalitarianism”....which a few of my Goodreads friends have read giving it 5 stars. I marked it to read myself. I had the experience that this brilliant colossal intellect had one heck of a wicked sense of humor...but beyond everything....this woman was a truth teller. German-Born American....she wrote 18 books. She was stripped of her German citizenship. As a Jew - she left Nazi Germany and never returned. She had an incredible life: lived in Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, and France, and Portugal before coming to the United States.... surviving torturous escapes. Before I share more about this extraordinary book - I have a few words of ‘business’....( ha, funny way to say that? - yeah - I couldn’t figure out the right word)....but here goes: The HARDCOVER of this graphic novel will be released in September- 2018 - 6 1/2 x 8 3/4 in size - 256 pages including and 8 page color insert. The copy I have is black and white — ( I don’t have the colored inserts...but can’t wait to see them). ....and some of the small print was ‘really small’ and ‘faint’ making it hard to read. Most of this copy ‘was’ easy enough on the eyes — but I imagine the finish product will be an easier more delightful reading experience. Ken Krimstein is a wonderful storyteller. The illustrations are very expressive in personality — especially the facial drawings of Hannah Arendt. From the first page to the last ....I was captivated. First Page: ( part of it) “All Too Human” Too soon, Too Angry. Too Smart, Too Stupid Too honest, Too Snoblish Too Jewish, Not Jewish Enough Too loving, Too Hateful Too Manlike, Not Manlike Enough Last page ( part of it) “From beyond the grave, Hannah says that of those living in the world of plurality and natality is no picnic, if we want to avoid Auschwitz or the Gulag or Stonewall or Pol Pot or Attica or ISIS, we as a species have no choice”. “In other words, there is no single answer, no single bullet to understanding to guide us, just a glorious never-ending mess. The never-ending mess of true human freedom”. Written with phenomenal compassion and spirit! Highly recommended!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    “Whatever I do, I am unable to avert my eyes from the reality of the world around me”—Hannah Arendt “As fire lives on oxygen, so the fire of totalitarianism lives on untruth”—Hannah Arendt I absolutely love this comics biography of Arendt, a philosopher who called herself a political theorist, a writer whose work doesn’t fit easily into categories, an activist, and who is/was perhaps best known for her relationship with one of the great philosophers of the twentieth century, Martin Heidegger. As w “Whatever I do, I am unable to avert my eyes from the reality of the world around me”—Hannah Arendt “As fire lives on oxygen, so the fire of totalitarianism lives on untruth”—Hannah Arendt I absolutely love this comics biography of Arendt, a philosopher who called herself a political theorist, a writer whose work doesn’t fit easily into categories, an activist, and who is/was perhaps best known for her relationship with one of the great philosophers of the twentieth century, Martin Heidegger. As with many great Jewish (and other) philosophers of her generation, Arendt was Heidegger’s student at the University of Marlburg. Krimstein invites us to consider: “Does her thinking offer a viable way for humanity to move forward?” When they met, she was 17, he was 35, she was electrified, he was impressed, and a passionate exchange of ideas led to love and a lifetime of struggle over the idea of The Truth vs. truths, to put it all too simply. My answer to his question is yes; her view of plurality is relevant for our times, as it was then. Krimstein’s book is quirkily unconventional—his characters here rarely speak as they would have in their time; they joke like contemporary people, but I like it a lot; the dialogue is fresh and engaging, enlivened by punny humor throughout. The light-heartedness balances out the philosophy and, well, a generation of intellectuals engaging/failing to fully engage with/confront the fact of The Third Reich. Yes, it’s a comics biography, so it leaves a lot of her life out, but what we have is entertaining and informed by a wealth of research that structures her life into three “escapes”: Berlin, Paris, New York. Footnotes abound to help introduce us to the dizzying array of people who she knows and engages with, and to various yiddishisms and philosophical quandries. An exciting time, to be at The Romanisches, 1933, with painters, musicians, theorists, an explosion of ideas! The sketchy art feels fresh and alive, Jules Feiffer-ish, or Roz Chast-ish. Undercuts the potential heaviness of the issues just enough. I love Hannah’s mother, her support of her daughter throughout her life. I love the Martin story; it’s one of the great philosophical stories, and not just gossip! I love it when Arendt goes to a party where handwriting analysis is being explored, and she brings some writing of her friend Walter Benjamin and also some of Heidegger ‘s to be analyzed for what it says for her life. She’s looking for a sign, an explanation of some Greater Truth! “To be alive and to think is the same thing”—Arendt PS: I make a note for myself here to investigate how the way of approaching ideas Arendt took was like Jane Addams; neither liked to be put in categories nor embraced popular isms. Re: Arndt’s conditions for totalitarianism: Trump’s Lies, New York Times 12/14/17, but I am certain there are updates: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...

  3. 5 out of 5

    emma

    I WISH MY FEELINGS ON THIS WEREN'T SO MIXED. what i was hoping to get out of this, and what it seemed like i would get out of this, was a half biography/half philosophical summary/all graphic novel fun bonanza. in some ways, i did get that. but also what i got was way more biography than philosophy, to the point that the philosophy explanations felt rushed and crammed in, and also so so so so many footnotes with tiny text and weird grammar. it made my head hurt. (both trying to understand huge con I WISH MY FEELINGS ON THIS WEREN'T SO MIXED. what i was hoping to get out of this, and what it seemed like i would get out of this, was a half biography/half philosophical summary/all graphic novel fun bonanza. in some ways, i did get that. but also what i got was way more biography than philosophy, to the point that the philosophy explanations felt rushed and crammed in, and also so so so so many footnotes with tiny text and weird grammar. it made my head hurt. (both trying to understand huge concepts in 2 or 3 cartoon frames and the teeny tiny biographical information of various historical figures.) this was a really cool idea and i liked parts of it but also...not even a fraction as many parts as i wanted to. bottom line: i don't have the particular interests to read swaths of dense philosophy but this kind fo made me wish i had done that instead!!! ----------- a historical graphic novel that will teach me about something i know very little about??? sign me the hell up (thanks to Bloomsbury for the copy)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    OMG, the name dropping! The first half of the book is less a story of Arendt than a list of every famous person she ever met. Talk about defining a woman by the men in her life! During the second half this slows down a little bit, but the author still seems pretty intent on mentioning every famous person of Jewish descent who lived during the twentieth century, shoehorning in Lou Reed and Jerry Lewis among others in footnotes and cameos, and, sure, I'd read that book if he cared to go all in on OMG, the name dropping! The first half of the book is less a story of Arendt than a list of every famous person she ever met. Talk about defining a woman by the men in her life! During the second half this slows down a little bit, but the author still seems pretty intent on mentioning every famous person of Jewish descent who lived during the twentieth century, shoehorning in Lou Reed and Jerry Lewis among others in footnotes and cameos, and, sure, I'd read that book if he cared to go all in on it, but I thought this was supposed to be about Arendt. So, knowing nothing about Arendt when I picked this book up, I don't feel like I really know much more about her actual philosophy having made it through to the end, not even when another character seemed to mansplain her philosophy and significance right to her face in the final pages. Indeed, throughout, more emphasis seems to be given to her relationship with Martin Heidegger than any of her individual accomplishments, sort of reducing her to girlfriend status in her own bio.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    As hard as I try, I cannot see a monster in the glass booth. I see a bore, a careerist former vacuum cleaner salesman spouting empty sales pitches. He's ordinary, which makes his crimes even more horrible than a Frankenstein fantasy. Arendt was really onto something with the whole "banality of evil" thing. As far as I can recall, I have no experience with Hannah Arendt's actual writing, and before reading Three Escapes I knew very little about her life, so I can't offer a good opinion on whether t As hard as I try, I cannot see a monster in the glass booth. I see a bore, a careerist former vacuum cleaner salesman spouting empty sales pitches. He's ordinary, which makes his crimes even more horrible than a Frankenstein fantasy. Arendt was really onto something with the whole "banality of evil" thing. As far as I can recall, I have no experience with Hannah Arendt's actual writing, and before reading Three Escapes I knew very little about her life, so I can't offer a good opinion on whether this graphic novel–style biography represents her accurately. I will say that this book was fascinating, did a fabulous job of rendering the various times and places represented, taught me a lot, and made me really want to read Hannah Arendt. This is definitely worth your time. Recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    3.5 stars -- This was a bit different than other graphic novel biographies I've encountered, in that it was a bit on the drier side. That said, Hannah Arendt led such an interesting life that her story still shines through and if you are looking for a different medium by which to learn about her life story, this definitely checks that box 3.5 stars -- This was a bit different than other graphic novel biographies I've encountered, in that it was a bit on the drier side. That said, Hannah Arendt led such an interesting life that her story still shines through and if you are looking for a different medium by which to learn about her life story, this definitely checks that box

  7. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    I found this very disappointing. Its badly drawn and badly put-together with not enough substance. Her thoughts are given hardly any airing compared to her chain-smoking and sex with Heidegger. Most annoying of all, it's overloaded with footnotes explaining each person or word mentioned. OK, maybe that's helpful when you're introducing some little-known philosopher or painter, but at one point, in 1939, when Poland is invaded, he mentions Hitler and there's a footnote explaining that this is Ado I found this very disappointing. Its badly drawn and badly put-together with not enough substance. Her thoughts are given hardly any airing compared to her chain-smoking and sex with Heidegger. Most annoying of all, it's overloaded with footnotes explaining each person or word mentioned. OK, maybe that's helpful when you're introducing some little-known philosopher or painter, but at one point, in 1939, when Poland is invaded, he mentions Hitler and there's a footnote explaining that this is Adolf Hitler, you know, the German leader, not Reg Hitler the Lowestoft postman.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    “Arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century,” the author suggests, “who renounced philosophy.” So she was like the Bobby Fischer of philosophy hehe. Hannah Arendt, like the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, was from Koenigsberg, East Prussia. As a child she was precocious. She wanted to “understand everything” so she read all of Kant’s books, as he was “the smartest man ever” and not only the books Kant wrote, but also the books Kant had read. She also became obsessed with the Greek tr “Arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century,” the author suggests, “who renounced philosophy.” So she was like the Bobby Fischer of philosophy hehe. Hannah Arendt, like the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, was from Koenigsberg, East Prussia. As a child she was precocious. She wanted to “understand everything” so she read all of Kant’s books, as he was “the smartest man ever” and not only the books Kant wrote, but also the books Kant had read. She also became obsessed with the Greek tragedies. Her father died of syphilis when she was young. Her mother remarried and her stepfather helped her get a college education. At the University of Marburg she became the student, and later the lover, of the very much married and older German philosopher Martin Heidegger (she was 17 and he was 18 years her senior). He was most likely seduced by her talent (“do not be afraid of your genius” he said to her) and her youth; and she, of his words which excited her naturally inquisitive mind, profound (maybe just silly) utterances like: “Life is thrownness. Like a sudden ‘Lichtung,’ a clearing in a dark forest, you were thrown at me.” “Death is not just truth, it is THE Truth. Death is what makes a man. Death makes meaning.” But passion, on his side, waned. He suggested she better study with Karl Jaspers (another German philosopher). She later finds herself later in Berlin, hobnobbing with famous artists and intellectuals like Marc Chagall, Edvard Munch, Irving Berlin, Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Hitchcock, Albert Einstein, etc. But there she was caught with the rise of Nazism. She, a Jew, had to get to a safer place. She then crossed to Czechoslovakia, eventually reaching Paris. That was her first escape. In France, the Nazis almost got her but she managed to evade them after some nail-biting episodes where she matched wits with the French police/Nazi collaborators. She eventually reached New York. Her second escape. She landed a teaching job at the Brooklyn College, then wrote an article for a German magazine for American Jewish German refugees calling for the creation of a global Jewish army to fight Hitler, suggesting that “if one is attacked as a Jew, one must defend themselves as a Jew.” This got the attention of Salo Baron, a polish Jewish professor, widely considered to be the greatest historian of Judaism in the 20th century. They talk. She speaks of the need for Jews to finally organize politically, and for there to be a “new Jew,” no longer a submissive victim. Baron challenges her to write an article about this and she excitedly plunges on with the task, summoning all the ideas which had been percolating inside her head, calling from the grave Proust, Von Clausewitz, Marx, Benjamin, St. Augustine, etc. The article was published and was a sensation. Soon she sits on the table of New York intellectuals in passionate debates. When rumours about Nazi extermination camps began to creep in, the same were widely received in disbelief, almost everyone opining that the country of Einstein, Goethe and Schiller is simply incapable of doing such an unimaginably barbaric enterprise. But towards the end of the war, when everything has been confirmed, she felt that “an abyss has opened” and she saw “a tear in the cosmos.” Like her young self, she struggled to understand, to find the answer, for “there is something at work in the world that causes people to cannibalise their own freedom, and in so doing, turn other people into landfill.” The end product of this mental labor was a book which made her a postwar hero—“The Origins of Totalitarianism”: “For me, in the ashes, it’s not enough to describe what we think happened, but to focus unforgivingly on what actually happened, to provide a road map, a game plan for how hell happens, not just in Nazi Germany, but in Stalinist Russia too.” “Not surprisingly, since this is a new phenomenon, there is no word to describe it so I have to make one up. The new force unleashed on the world is TOTALITARIANISM.” “As fire lives on oxygen, the oxygen of totalitarianism is untruth.” “Before totalitarian leaders can fit reality to their lies, their message is an unrelenting contempt for facts. They live by the belief that fact depends entirely on the power of the man who makes it up.” But the book only answers the question of how evil happens. It does not answer the “why.” To find out the “why” she debated with herself, talked with a deceased friend who came back as a stain on the ceiling of her room, and had an imaginary conversation with St. Augustine: Hannah: We know that there are many many truths from many many people. Augustine: And that means? Hannah: That the real miracle, the real meaning doesn’t come from death, but from birth. From new. New men. New women. New ideas. Augustine: Exactly. As I like to say, “Initium ut esset homo creatus est”! Hannah: I call that NATALITY. Augustine: I like that. But what about the world being made up of lots of unique, individual, spontaneous men, women, and children? Hannah: I call that PLURALITY. Augustine: I like that. Hannah: And it is precisely this force, the facts of natality and plurality, that totalitarianism is designed to smother. So they claim to know the truth. But instead of one monolithic all-knowing truth (there’s a multitude). This is more what freedom looks like. A million billion truths, acted out in public, with every passing second. Messy? You bet. But consider the alternative. Augustine: I like it. On 5 December 1975, after having dinner, coffee and dessert and an evening of debate with Salo Baron and his wife, Hannah Arendt passed away. The closing paragraphs of the book’s Epilogue: “From beyond the grave, Hannah says that although living in the world of plurality and natality is no picnic, if we want to avoid Auschwitz or the Gulag or Stonewall or Pol Pot or Attica or ISIS, we as a species have no choice but to embrace it and endure it. “In other words, there is no single truth, no silver bullet of understanding to guide us, just a glorious, neverending mess. The neverending mess of true human freedom.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This was... interesting. I enjoyed the art style quite a bit. I read the ARC, which was entirely in black and white, but the final version still takes a fairly minimalist approach to color (some images have splashes of green and brown, but otherwise the book is still B&W). I liked the sketches, the smudges, the messiness of the art. I have a basic understanding of 20th Century European philosophy, but oh man so much of this still went over my head. And mY GOODNESS the name dropping. I understand This was... interesting. I enjoyed the art style quite a bit. I read the ARC, which was entirely in black and white, but the final version still takes a fairly minimalist approach to color (some images have splashes of green and brown, but otherwise the book is still B&W). I liked the sketches, the smudges, the messiness of the art. I have a basic understanding of 20th Century European philosophy, but oh man so much of this still went over my head. And mY GOODNESS the name dropping. I understand the need to emphasize the honestly incredibly circles that Arendt ran in, but I found it tedious trying to read every footnote for every figure mentioned. I think a stronger structure for this would be to include a "cast list" at the end of the book rather than footnotes. I would have liked for the book to dig a bit deeper into the "Eichmann in Jerusalem" trial. The book definitely touches on it, but I think that piece is arguably more well known than The Origins of Totalitarianism and merited a more in-depth look at it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Loved this. I recently read Sabrina - another graphic novel that is on some year's best lists (and Booker long list?) and was really disappointed with the bland drawings and genderless, affectless people and cultural isolation-subject matter. It left me cold. By contrast, Krimstein's book checked off every box when it comes to what I want in a graphic novel: intricate drawings that I may have to linger over to catch nuance; historical significance; philosophical and/or scientific information; fo Loved this. I recently read Sabrina - another graphic novel that is on some year's best lists (and Booker long list?) and was really disappointed with the bland drawings and genderless, affectless people and cultural isolation-subject matter. It left me cold. By contrast, Krimstein's book checked off every box when it comes to what I want in a graphic novel: intricate drawings that I may have to linger over to catch nuance; historical significance; philosophical and/or scientific information; footnotes (!); love, sex, danger - emotion; and - admittedly - lots of WORDS. I made notes of the recommended reading list Krimstein provides at the end (Elizabeth Young-Bruehl, Anne C. Heller, Maria Luisa Knott, Deborah Nelson, Susan Buck-Morss ....)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dustin

    Enjoyed this and learned some things. Arendt is fascinating, apparently present for many of the 20th century's biggest moments, and this graphic novel is a good intro. Enjoyed this and learned some things. Arendt is fascinating, apparently present for many of the 20th century's biggest moments, and this graphic novel is a good intro.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Miglė

    A great biography of Hannah Arendt. It's drawn in an easy, attractive style (I personally didn't find coloring very pleasing, but it fits the mood of the book), also, the material is dense and I couldn't read it in one sitting. Her personal story is explored minutely on two levels, representing two conflicts: Hannah's battle with antisemitism on the narrative level, and her battle with Heidegger's influence and his conception of truth on the level of ideas. (Heidegger is really evil, btw!) Simply A great biography of Hannah Arendt. It's drawn in an easy, attractive style (I personally didn't find coloring very pleasing, but it fits the mood of the book), also, the material is dense and I couldn't read it in one sitting. Her personal story is explored minutely on two levels, representing two conflicts: Hannah's battle with antisemitism on the narrative level, and her battle with Heidegger's influence and his conception of truth on the level of ideas. (Heidegger is really evil, btw!) Simply a great way to get acquainted with one of the greatest thinkers of XX century. On a more personal note, since I did a biographical book on Greimas and his semiotics, also as a graphic novel, it is interesting to notice some similarities, which naturally arise (as we hadn't read each other's books before doing ours) when attempting to draw an intellectual biography of someone: showing the intellectual climate of the protagonists, the suggested reading list, even the ending!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    The thing I like best about this book is that it leads me to so many questions, and it has a great list for further reading. It was interesting to learn about Arendt’s work in a context of her as philosopher-first; however, I found the author’s writing to be so-so, and I found a factual error in a footnote (blaming Cecile B. DeMille for Birth of a Nation, which, as far as I know, he was not involved with—maybe the author was thinking of D.W. Griffith). That sounds nit-picky, but I know old movie The thing I like best about this book is that it leads me to so many questions, and it has a great list for further reading. It was interesting to learn about Arendt’s work in a context of her as philosopher-first; however, I found the author’s writing to be so-so, and I found a factual error in a footnote (blaming Cecile B. DeMille for Birth of a Nation, which, as far as I know, he was not involved with—maybe the author was thinking of D.W. Griffith). That sounds nit-picky, but I know old movies better than I know philosophers, and so it made me wonder about accuracy in details. That said, it was a quick read and did a good job of offering the major point of Arendt’s life and career, insofar as I know them, and I look forward to reading more about her with this book as an easy way in. Also, sometimes the graphics themselves are quite marvelous.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    I have long been intrigued with Hannah Arendt even though I only know the barest outlines of her life and philosophy. So when I saw this graphic biography, I jumped on it! In The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt, we learn about Arendt's life in three segments, from her childhood in Germany to her death in the United States. Krimstein shows us how she focused on learning the truth from a very young age and how her philosophy about truth and human nature evolved over the years through her experience I have long been intrigued with Hannah Arendt even though I only know the barest outlines of her life and philosophy. So when I saw this graphic biography, I jumped on it! In The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt, we learn about Arendt's life in three segments, from her childhood in Germany to her death in the United States. Krimstein shows us how she focused on learning the truth from a very young age and how her philosophy about truth and human nature evolved over the years through her experiences and relationships with other important philosophers of the mid-20th-century. While she was a controversial figure, her view of human nature, plurality and the nature of totalitarianism and evil can still resonate today and should make us think! Her overriding call to action is that we think for ourselves. She is much maligned for her study (and affair) with German philosopher Martin Heidegger who later became a Nazi sympathizer. Krimstein puts this part of her very early life in context and shows us how it shouldn't define her. The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt is a vividly illustrated introduction to her. The black and white drawings are somewhat whimsical, which you can see on the book cover. Hannah is always depicted in green clothing and green is used sparingly in other ways to add a spark of color. I would have given this 5 stars except for the myriad of teeny-tiny footnotes on the men that shaped philosophy starting in the 1940's. All of these philosophers - and yes, they're all men - are drawn as part of the story and often given numbers, leading to the annoying footnotes that completely took me out of the story, making it hard to flow with it. Felt a little like Krimstein was name-dropping or showing off all that he knew. Indeed, after finishing the book, I went immediately back to the beginning to read it again without the distraction! The best part of reading this book for me is that it has made me hungry for more Hannah! I watched the movie Hannah Arendt, a recent biopic by Margarethe von Trotta and I have Vita Activa, The Spirit of Hannah Arendt, a documentary about her to watch tonight.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Narwhal

    + -I forgot how much I love graphic novels (or “comics”). Visual mediums are so much easier to absorb and have more room of observation and interpretation (which I imagine arendt would approve of) -the graphics themselves. Messy and the lines make it look like things are moving. Looks like a storyboard strip for a movie. -it made me want to be a child philosopher genius prodigy who eats up a ton of books -I just really appreciated learning about Hannah arendt. What an intriguing person. -the way diff + -I forgot how much I love graphic novels (or “comics”). Visual mediums are so much easier to absorb and have more room of observation and interpretation (which I imagine arendt would approve of) -the graphics themselves. Messy and the lines make it look like things are moving. Looks like a storyboard strip for a movie. -it made me want to be a child philosopher genius prodigy who eats up a ton of books -I just really appreciated learning about Hannah arendt. What an intriguing person. -the way different disciplines peoples and ideas are woven together. Got musicians like John Coltrane, tons of famous thinkers and cultural influencers like Marlene Dietrich... I loved most of all her connection of her philosophy with Coltrane’s improv style. -I love observing Hannah’s personality and philosophy act out in her life. I love the part where she describes her Paris triptych of “lover” “thinker” and “actor”. -love the voice in this comic. Very distinct. Could see it evolve from child to woman. (-) -Heidegger (her lover) is annoying and ridiculously over romanticized. What kind of overused dead poets society trope is this? Yes he is captivating I guess but as my professor said, it is quite disturbing when he keeps trying to seduce Hannah with grand claims about pursuing truth together. Ew. It was like a Hollywood film on comic. -Hannah is amazing but this memoir is told from her unironic perspective which means her somewhat rather arrogant attitudes and all her life choices in general are taken as gospel. No thx -at times slowed by the amount of names. Instead of making me excited to learn all these awesome people, made me feel overwhelmed and sometimes even gave me uncultured swine vibes

  16. 4 out of 5

    J

    What an interesting person. I'd like to learn more. The book has great resources for further study of Arendt's life. recommended for those interested in philosophy and philosophers. What an interesting person. I'd like to learn more. The book has great resources for further study of Arendt's life. recommended for those interested in philosophy and philosophers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    I will admit to not really knowing Arendt before picking up this book. I wasn't a huge fan of the scribbly art style, but this graphic bio did exactly what it sets out to do, which is teach the reader a great deal. I will admit to not really knowing Arendt before picking up this book. I wasn't a huge fan of the scribbly art style, but this graphic bio did exactly what it sets out to do, which is teach the reader a great deal.

  18. 4 out of 5

    C.

    I think this is my favorite graphic novel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    This is worse than a comic book/Cliff Notes version of War and Peace. In that sense, at least it gives people who have never heard of Arendt an introduction to Arendt. I'm not sure how much of Arendt's work the author actually read. He appears to have read the secondary literature, but I doubt he's read "Totalitarianism." After reading this graphic-novel biography, I was afraid I missed something. I read three on-line book reviews to check myself. The reviews describe it basically as snappy or did This is worse than a comic book/Cliff Notes version of War and Peace. In that sense, at least it gives people who have never heard of Arendt an introduction to Arendt. I'm not sure how much of Arendt's work the author actually read. He appears to have read the secondary literature, but I doubt he's read "Totalitarianism." After reading this graphic-novel biography, I was afraid I missed something. I read three on-line book reviews to check myself. The reviews describe it basically as snappy or didactic. The reviews all veered to be about Arendt, not the book. None of them panned it. My three complaints about this book: 1) The book gives the impression that Arendt is a grown-up child-product of Heidegger and Benjamin. Not. She is a serious political thinker who deserves to be depicted as an independent woman thinker who contributed greatly to unraveling the complexities of the human condition. Arendt developed her own views through intense study and reflection. 2) Arendt did not spend her life obsessing over Heidegger, her relationship with Heidegger, or Heidegger's philosophy. She did understand that totalitarianism is the phenomenon to obsess over and that Heidegger was complicit in it. 3) Cecil B. DeMille did not create "The Birth of a Nation." (p. 183) That was D. W. Griffith. A positive note: the two page Suggested Reading list isn't bad. Conclusion. Skip the graphic novel. Read "Eichmann in Jerusalem." Recommendation. If you want a short introduction to Arendt, watch the film Hannah Arendt (2012).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    An interesting introduction to Hannah Arendt is what I would like to say about this graphic novel. Honestly though, there are obvious and glaring problems with the story. For one, it's rife with unnecessary namedropping, which distracts from the star of the show: Hannah Arendt! So what that she encountered a bunch of semi-famous men! It is of no further importance to the story, and Arendt herself has done more than enough to not be defined by the people she meets. Secondly, it's just a bit of a m An interesting introduction to Hannah Arendt is what I would like to say about this graphic novel. Honestly though, there are obvious and glaring problems with the story. For one, it's rife with unnecessary namedropping, which distracts from the star of the show: Hannah Arendt! So what that she encountered a bunch of semi-famous men! It is of no further importance to the story, and Arendt herself has done more than enough to not be defined by the people she meets. Secondly, it's just a bit of a mess, in a narrative way. Big philosophical ideas are packed into two or three frames, and it is only towards the end that the specific content of Hannah's ideology comes into play. I know a bit about Arendt, and honestly, I was glad that I did, because I'm not sure I would have put everything together otherwise. That's not to say that it is all bad, of course. My three star rating mainly hinges on the drawing style, which I appreciated a lot, and the sheer fact that it encouraged me to delve into Arendt's primary works, which, honestly, is an achievement. Maybe this graphic novel really isn't all that good, I realize while typing this. I just think Hannah Arendt was pretty badass.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    The philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt is portrayed in this graphic biography with verve, passion, intellect, and power. Her life and "three escapes" run through some of the most climactic events of the last 100 years, and her fierce, free-thinking shines. This book will definitely send me on a trajectory of more works by and about Arendt. Fascinating! The philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt is portrayed in this graphic biography with verve, passion, intellect, and power. Her life and "three escapes" run through some of the most climactic events of the last 100 years, and her fierce, free-thinking shines. This book will definitely send me on a trajectory of more works by and about Arendt. Fascinating!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Matthews

    I feel like I just had an eminent female thinker’s biography mansplained to me. Lay off the footnotes, my man.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Frederico

    I liked but not loved this biography. My favorite aspect in this book was the pacing and the plotting of the story. It gathers momentum and finishes triumphantly. The device of the three escapes works very well as a frame. But I found the art problematic, in that I found it really sloppy that the same drawing is utilized repeatedly, just cut and paste into another panel, maybe the drawing is mirrored or re-sized, but there's no love for cartooning here. I love different line stroke widths, but w I liked but not loved this biography. My favorite aspect in this book was the pacing and the plotting of the story. It gathers momentum and finishes triumphantly. The device of the three escapes works very well as a frame. But I found the art problematic, in that I found it really sloppy that the same drawing is utilized repeatedly, just cut and paste into another panel, maybe the drawing is mirrored or re-sized, but there's no love for cartooning here. I love different line stroke widths, but when done in real life. With Photoshop, it's just lazy. One can re-size an image, but without re-drawing it later, the integrity of the drawing is lost. I don't see Roz Chat doing it, for example. Can you imagine such sloppiness with the great William Steig? I'm sure Krimstein will agree that his work follows the same line as theirs, so why the laziness here? It seems he is a very accomplished cartoonist that just learned Photoshop and was in a hurry to finish work. Also, the inserts * explaining who Marlene Dietrich, Sappho, Gerhard Scholem, etc etc etc etc were, in mechanical lettering are awful, disturbing, very ugly. They destroy the page. The original lettering of the author is great, why not use it throughout? Why spoil the work with typeset? And - why even have those obnoxious footnotes at all? I'm sure this might have been an editor's request. But whomever is going to pick up this book already knows who Heidegger is, etc. Finally the author does not add anything to what Arendt's biographies have already told. Which is fine, but it takes away from the final product. Nowadays in Academia we accept when a student hands in a paper, a thesis, or a dissertation in comics format. This book would not qualify as a Master's thesis because it doesn't add anything to the subject matter. As a professor, I'd accept it as a term paper. Good, but recycled. Yet the timing for a book about Arendt is perfect, so I'd give the paper an A-.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Milley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I rarely give a graphic novel less than three, actually less than four. This one scraped into the 3 band rather than 2 band. Three for me means I am glad I read it but wouldn’t keep it or recommend it particularly. The ONLY reason it got a three rather than 2 is that it annoyed me enough to want a better story of Hannah. This book seemed to be two books: the first book was some vignettes on Hannah. There weren’t enough of these. The starting childhood one was good. The escape from the Nazis was I rarely give a graphic novel less than three, actually less than four. This one scraped into the 3 band rather than 2 band. Three for me means I am glad I read it but wouldn’t keep it or recommend it particularly. The ONLY reason it got a three rather than 2 is that it annoyed me enough to want a better story of Hannah. This book seemed to be two books: the first book was some vignettes on Hannah. There weren’t enough of these. The starting childhood one was good. The escape from the Nazis was okay and I think that’s it. The last part of the book had none that stood it to me. In graphic novels I like, the drawing tells the story with the words embellishing. This one, even in the vignettes, had nothing added by the illustration. The second “book” was basically name dropping with foot note after foot note on the people. Was it meant to be an encyclopedia of intellectuals Hannah hung out with? Met? Did she develop theories with them? It’s not even clear how much she really interacted with them. There was one interaction with Einstein. It just hung there. The relative personal importance to her was missing. there were so many names dropped that it just became a list to memorize rather than a memorable story with amazing context. This book didn’t even do a good job of explaining the philosophy or its importance even though it went on and on about all of these clever people in her sphere. Ironically I was left with little idea of the intellectual ideas and developments and people at the end or really Hannah’s role in them. A clever book could have shown the players the ideas etc. But this seemed to want to primarily boast about Hannah’s professional colleagues rather than describe her achievements in context or tell her story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Keen

    “The only thing free about your fellow French is they’ll freely hand you over to the Nazis.” There are some obvious comparisons to be made between Arendt and Rosa Luxemburg, two highly intelligent, bold and exceptional Jewish women who were born and grew up in Eastern Europe. Both would never shy away from controversy and both would go onto make a name for themselves creating a huge impact well beyond their inauspicious beginnings. This has its funny moments, and certainly provides some thorough i “The only thing free about your fellow French is they’ll freely hand you over to the Nazis.” There are some obvious comparisons to be made between Arendt and Rosa Luxemburg, two highly intelligent, bold and exceptional Jewish women who were born and grew up in Eastern Europe. Both would never shy away from controversy and both would go onto make a name for themselves creating a huge impact well beyond their inauspicious beginnings. This has its funny moments, and certainly provides some thorough insights into many of the people who were working, moving and living around her at roughly the same time, which can make for some, (though not always) colourful and witty diversions. A huge, almost disproportionate emphasis seems to be placed on her relationship with Martin Heidegger, which threatens to eclipse her own talents. Even the most reckless of optimists would struggle to call the art work in here great, the lettering seems a little half-hearted, but still it has its value and does the job well enough. There are times when Krimstein really gets carried away with the footnotes, and they threaten to hijack the main story as we get bogged down in a long list of successful Jewish intellectuals, scientists etc. Also he mistakenly refers to a butterfly in German as “Shmetterer”, when the correct term is “Schmetterling”. But these details aside I have to say that I enjoyed this and learned a lot about the life and work of Arendt, I have read and enjoyed her work before and this made me aware of how much other great work she has out there.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    “Whatever I do, I am unable to avert my eyes from the reality of the world around me”—Hannah Arendt I wandered into a bookshop this weekend and surrendered to my browsing, knowing that if there was a book for me to read, it would make itself known. Ken Krimstein's book sang out. This was the right book for me in these dark days. Hannah Arendt, Thinker and truth sayer. BRILLIANT woman. I am a fan. This is a graphic novel that takes us through Arendt's life history and her devotion to THINKING; her es “Whatever I do, I am unable to avert my eyes from the reality of the world around me”—Hannah Arendt I wandered into a bookshop this weekend and surrendered to my browsing, knowing that if there was a book for me to read, it would make itself known. Ken Krimstein's book sang out. This was the right book for me in these dark days. Hannah Arendt, Thinker and truth sayer. BRILLIANT woman. I am a fan. This is a graphic novel that takes us through Arendt's life history and her devotion to THINKING; her escape from Nazi Germany, occupied France, toxic lovers (Heiddiger); her emergence to speaking her truth through a natalist, polarity philosophy, and identifying as a political theorist rather than a philosopher "political questions are far too serious to be left to politicians." I love the THINKER that is Hannah Arendt, even if I disagree with her conclusion that another holocaust is avoidable, (they continue throughout the world to this day), but I have compassion for her committing herself to that view. She had a forensic and clear view of what constitutes Totalitarianism and reading her words gave me the chill of recognition of the ever-present chains of oppression in our world, even if we delude ourselves otherwise. “As fire lives on oxygen, so the fire of totalitarianism lives on untruth” "Before Totalitarian leaders can fit reality to their lies, their message is an unrelenting contempt for facts."—Hannah Arendt Familiar? This book makes me want to go back and re-read everything she has written. Marvelous. Highly recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    James Mccloskey

    Krimstein does a fabulous job at portraying the complexities of one of the 20th century's great thinkers. I'll let the lack of index, table of contents, and incomplete scholarly citations pass and admit to finding a gem for those who agree that "to be alive and to think are the same thing." I appreciated the choice, or lack of, color because the pictures helped me visualize the story line. Several reviewers comment negatively on the footnotes, the "unnecessary namedropping," and seeming excessiv Krimstein does a fabulous job at portraying the complexities of one of the 20th century's great thinkers. I'll let the lack of index, table of contents, and incomplete scholarly citations pass and admit to finding a gem for those who agree that "to be alive and to think are the same thing." I appreciated the choice, or lack of, color because the pictures helped me visualize the story line. Several reviewers comment negatively on the footnotes, the "unnecessary namedropping," and seeming excessive long list of successful Jewish intellectuals, scientists etc. But, it seems that Krimstein was making a point to show that many fellow Jews and Gentile intellectuals, along with other luminaries listed (primarily of the male persuasion), fell short in clearly identifying and addressing the condition that "political questions are far too serious to be left to politicians." The continuing interest in Arendt's writings, exemplified in Krimstein's book, are, I believe, tied to the way she portrays the universality of the human condition. As she wrote in The Origins of Totalitarianism, this condition is described as an “absolute evil” in which we live communally, and suffer individually. We are called to action as individuals against this evil, perpetrated not merely by individuals, but by "the burden of our time." I believe this book, The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt, will help a new generation of readers gain an awareness of Arendt's ideas.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christina Saarinen

    I am a person who generally likes footnotes, but this is the kind of book that gives footnotes a bad name. There is a footnote identifying Hitler on a panel with a classically recognizable image of Hitler where the text is about Hitler. There is a footnote explaining who Stalin was. There is a footnote about Groucho Marx, who isn’t consequential to the book. There is a footnote telling you “tuchus” means butt in Yiddish. These are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of footnotes that only add t I am a person who generally likes footnotes, but this is the kind of book that gives footnotes a bad name. There is a footnote identifying Hitler on a panel with a classically recognizable image of Hitler where the text is about Hitler. There is a footnote explaining who Stalin was. There is a footnote about Groucho Marx, who isn’t consequential to the book. There is a footnote telling you “tuchus” means butt in Yiddish. These are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of footnotes that only add to the overall effect of a massive subject the author hasn’t quite figured out his angle on. The dozens and dozens of passing characters, loose plot, repetition, and uneven drawing style all give the impression of a work that hasn’t really found its focus. In the end, we’re left with a picture of Arendt as a brilliant woman who asked “why?” and died between coffee and dessert. Unfortunately unsatisfying.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I struggled a bit in the philosophical weeds here, but not so much that I didn't enjoy this graphic biography of Arendt. She is rendered in green against a grayscale background of about a thousand illustrious thinkers and persons, many with German and/or Jewish names, and several who have more than one name. So Hannah stands out and is easy to follow even though the people around her are much more difficult to distinguish. The footnotes help. Her philosophical journey was not uninteresting, but h I struggled a bit in the philosophical weeds here, but not so much that I didn't enjoy this graphic biography of Arendt. She is rendered in green against a grayscale background of about a thousand illustrious thinkers and persons, many with German and/or Jewish names, and several who have more than one name. So Hannah stands out and is easy to follow even though the people around her are much more difficult to distinguish. The footnotes help. Her philosophical journey was not uninteresting, but her physical journey around and through the Nazis makes for thrilling action. Her ruminations on the nature of extreme evil and its utter ordinariness make for chilling reflections on the nature of ordinary humans today. I should try to read her Origins of Totalitarianism again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dakota Morgan

    The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt is a needlessly tough, largely fascinating read. Needlessly tough because the art and format makes it difficult to follow the actual flow of Arendt's life. Largely fascinating because, damn it, Arendt was cool! She lived a wild life, had grand ideas, and worked with deeply interesting people. One of the ways in which The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt shines is in it's footnote biographies of key figures Arendt encountered. I feel like I have a better grasp of The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt is a needlessly tough, largely fascinating read. Needlessly tough because the art and format makes it difficult to follow the actual flow of Arendt's life. Largely fascinating because, damn it, Arendt was cool! She lived a wild life, had grand ideas, and worked with deeply interesting people. One of the ways in which The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt shines is in it's footnote biographies of key figures Arendt encountered. I feel like I have a better grasp of the early 20th century philosophy scene now. That said, I don't feel like I have a better grasp on Arendt, which is kinda the whole deal of this book.

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