Published in 1968, the book Men in Dark Times still has something to say in our time. Hannah Arendt wrote it long ago, it is true, and the work consists of a collection of essays devoted to people who lived most of their lives during the first half of the last century, with the exception of Gotthold Lessing.
Yet a light shines in the lives of these people who have gone before us, given the fact that some of them never lost their integrity in the difficult settings in which they lived. For us today, this is not only a reminder of the ideological dangers that still threaten us, but also a leaven of hope in a humanity that, though often hidden, encourages us for the future.
Indeed, the world in which Arendt lived with the characters whose lives are for her a leitmotif for her reflection, allowed itself to be poisoned by the totalitarian ideologies that marked the last century. In the context that brought us two great wars and an increasing ideological polarization that continued, to some extent, in the postwar period, some people did not allow themselves to be reduced to being merely children of their time. These are the people Arendt calls “men in dark times.”