What You'll Learn:
Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) was a longshoreman for decades, loading and unloading cargo from ships. He was also a farmer, a railway man, and a lay scholar. After being temporarily blinded from ages 7 to 15, he read voraciously for fear that the blindness might return. Hoffer was also a prolific writer, and though he taught at Berkeley in the 1960s, he rejected the label “intellectual,” always preferring to think of himself as a longshoreman. His admiration of the poor and belief in their potential show up in his 1951 work The True Believer, in which he explores the fundamental aspects of mass movements and the people those movements attract.