Originally published in 1955 as The Case for Modern Man, this book challenges the reader to believe in the essence of the modern temperament: the belief in the human mastery of destiny. It remains a brilliant answer to pessimists who try to frighten individuals with tales of sin and disaster, or those who hold the view that human beings are victims of circumstances.
This is a positive statement, a distinguished and inspiring one, which examines human beings today in the light of human history, and demonstrates that improvements in social life were ever a function of intelligence. Frankel discusses the basic notions of Freud and Marx and their influence on the present epoch. He gives close scrutiny to the writings of Jacques Maritain, Reinhold Niebuhr and other doctrinal thinkers. This is a masterly reexamination of the liberal tradition and the people who created it. Frankel shows how Enlightenment has greater usefulness than ever before. Writing within a broadly naturalistic tradition, he argues that the way to restore our faith in ourselves and to restore confidence in our ability to make a better future is to deal with modernity in affirmative terms. The reader will find in these pages a hopeful and reasoned message about human values.
Upon its publication, Robert M. McIver noted that Frankel "revives with remarkable clarity and incisiveness the much abused liberal tradition." And Lyman Bryson called the text "fresh and persuasive, of greatest importance in the present state of mind of America." A critical new introduction by the distinguished philosopher, Thelma Z. Lavine, will increase the value of this modern classic.