Why this book?
This book is both timeless and a product of a specific moment (the post-war era). First to the timeless stuff: the authoritarian personality that Adorno and his co-authors describe remains alive and kicking in 2022. He is obsessed with appearing tough, power-hungry, incapable of self-criticism, and presents himself as a victim of other peoples’ malfeasance. As for the more dated stuff, Freud lurks behind the authors’ interpretations; reading this book, I am struck by how differently post-war Americans understood gender and sexuality than we do today. This book poses searching questions about the extent to which authoritarianism and proto-fascism are ingrained in modern life.