Books: The Nature of Evil

CROWDS AND POWER 495 pp.—Elios Canetti— Viking ($7.50 The gloomiest of modern thinkers have found the human being sex-ridden, despairing or just plain hollow. But Elias Canetti, 57, a Bulgarian-born novelist and playwright, goes further. In this massive, provocative and often brilliant work, he concludes that man is power-mad, and never more so than in a crowd.

Recently published in England, Crowds and Power impressed all critics with its erudition, dazzled some into superlatives, and numbed others. Like Spengler, Toynbee and other sweeping theorists, Canetti casts a net over all of human history...

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