Ein Meister aus Deutschland : Heidegger und seine Zeit

by Rüdiger Safranski

Other authorsMartin Heidegger (Honoree)
Paper Book, 1998



Call number

CI 2612 S128



Frankfurt am Main Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl. 1998


One of the century's greatest philosophers, without whom there would be no Sartre, no Foucault, no Frankfurt School, Martin Heidegger was also a man of great failures and flaws, a Faustus who made a pact with the devil of his time, Adolf Hitler. The story of Heidegger's life and philosophy, a quintessentially German story in which good and evil, brilliance and blindness are inextricably entwined and the passions and disasters of a whole century come into play, is told in this brilliant biography. Heidegger grew up in Catholic Germany where, for a chance at pursuing a life of learning, he pledged himself to the priesthood. Soon he turned apostate and sought a university position, which set him on the path to becoming the star of German philosophy in the 1920s. Rüdiger Safranski chronicles Heidegger's rise along with the thought he honed on the way, with its debt to Heraclitus, Plato, and Kant, and its tragic susceptibility to the conservatism that emerged out of the nightmare of Germany's loss in World War I. A chronicle of ideas and of personal commitments and betrayals, Safranski's biography combines clear accounts of the philosophy that won Heidegger eternal renown with the fascinating details of the loves and lapses that tripped up this powerful intellectual. The best intellectual biography of Heidegger ever written and a best-seller in Germany, Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil does not shy away from full coverage of Heidegger's shameful transformation into a propagandist for the National Socialist regime; nor does it allow this aspect of his career to obscure his accomplishments. Written by a master of Heidegger's philosophy, the book is one of the best introductions to the thought and to the life and times of the greatest German philosopher of the century.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member tmph
Read this when it came out -- wonderful read in that the author is neither an academic nor philosopher, but a journalist. Clear and fascinating and still difficult!
LibraryThing member stillatim
Look, I thought I was getting something else. I came to this after reading Safranski's very biographical biography of Goethe, which was flawed, but easy to read and genuinely about the man's life. This is not that. The focus here is very much on ideas, which is fine, because Heidegger was a
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philosophy. But had I not known a bit about Heidegger's ideas going in, I doubt I would have any knowledge about them coming out. The writing/translation is tortured beyond all belief; I suspect that Ewald Osers was not the right man for the job.

Now, there are good things about this book: in particular, the stuff on Heidegger's early years as a student was a bit enlightening, and the unexpected chapter about Heidegger and Adorno was interesting to me, just because I'm interested in Adorno--and Safranski is quite fair minded about that conflict. I'm being too harsh with my two stars. But someone has to warn potential readers that this is not a good biography, and it is not a good introduction to the philosophy. I'm not sure what it is. But you probably shouldn't read it, if you can find other introduction to the philosophy (Polt, say), or biographies.
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Original publication date


Physical description

19 cm


3596129907 / 9783596129904
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