Sorel: Reflections on Violence (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

Georges Sorel's Reflections on Violence (1908) remains a controversial text to this day. It unashamedly advocates the use of violence as a means of putting an end to the corrupt politics of bourgeois democracy and of bringing down capitalism. It is both dangerous and fascinating, of enduring importance and interest to all those concerned about the nature of modern politics. This new student edition of Sorel's classic text is accompanied by notes, chronology, and bibliography, as well as a concise introduction to the context and content of this work.

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By Gwern · ★★☆☆☆ · March 13, 2015
(131k words; 3h; WP) Prompted by my old lack of understanding of China Miéville's Iron Council, and an interesting mention in Graeber's Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology:

This was, it appears, because he identified anarchism mainly with the figure of Georges Sorel, an apparently quite persona...
By Graham (Burlington, VT) · ★★★★★ · November 16, 2007
I read this in the middle of having a nervous breakdown. It quickly (and disturbingly) became one of my favorites. It is a book that pacifists and non-pacifists should read alike because it brings up issues (involving tactics) that must be faced.

Also makes you wonder how much the whole 'revoluti... ...more
By Nicole (San Francisco, CA) · ★★★★★ · May 21, 2012
I don't know why I have such an aberrant affection for this esoteric, polemical book of Western, French philosophy. Georges Sorel, to be blunt, died as a royalist anti-Semite who wasn't too kind to women intellectuals, either.

But there are some truly tide-changing aspects to his Reflections. Bef... ...more
By Andrew (Bangkok, Thailand) · December 22, 2012
OK, so this was written before Marxist revolution was truly put to the test, and, while this perhaps makes me a weak-spined reformist, the Soviet experience if anything emboldened the case for what Sorel would have condemned as "parlimentary" socialism. This isn't to say that revolution is an imp... ...more
By Luke (London , The United Kingdom) · ★★☆☆☆ · March 31, 2014
He does waffle on a bit ...more
By Subvert (Amsterdam, 07, Netherlands) · ★★★★☆ · September 24, 2013
I ended up reading this book when I found it in a give-away library in one of Amsterdam’s social centers. I had heard of the book before, it’s one of those influential classics that probably almost nobody reads. As I’m quite interested in the question of violence for achieving social change, Sore... ...more
By Vanesa (Santa Fe, 3000, Argentina) · ★★★☆☆ · April 30, 2014
El tema era interesante, pero me resultó bastante aburrido en algunos puntos. No sé si tener que hacer la lectura crítica en un hotel a las 3 a.m. cuando debería estar disfrutando de unas mini-vacaciones tendrá algo que ver con eso. De igual manera, tengo que volver a encontrarme con este libro p... ...more
By Left (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · September 11, 2014
Don't mistake this for dry academic musing for Marxist theory- this is triumphant and bloodcurdling (and a bit bloodthirsty) paean to the powerful, militant, and self-confident proletariat. No matter what parties, politicians, leaders, and cadres have to say (and this book contains many a sly jib... ...more
By A.C. (Iowa City, IA) · ★★★★☆ · June 06, 2011
An excellent Marxist text that contains one of the few functional embodiments of communism in the form of (anarcho-)syndicalism. While some might not fully agree, this is the only way to actually get things to happen. It's a hard read, but it's a good read. ...more