Book Review, Nietzche – On The Advantage and Disadvantage of History

The book, written by Nietzche as a social critique, describes what history means to humanity, its benefits and drawbacks. In this book, Nietzche speaks about the possible damages that "history culture" and historical knowledge can cause to society and the "purpose of history for life".

This is the first book that I read from Nieztche. I bought it because the title peaked my interest. The language of the book is a bit heavy, there is a lot of irony so the reading experience can be a bit tiresome. I guess reading other books of Nietzsche first could be a better start.

There is a lot to talk about this book. So here I will only try to explain the subject of the book and why, as I understand it, Nietzsche wrote this book. But first of all it would be best to talk about the writing style of the book.

The Writing Style of The Book

Nietzsche wrote his thoughts with irony and fine sarcasm. The irony is something you will come across quite often in this book. I think he wrote this book in such a complex way so that only people who think like him, who have similar ideals with him, can understand.

However, I personally skipped the parts that I clearly understood were irony but did not understand the context,

.For example, Nietzsche talks about different philosophers and makes irony about what they wrote; since I have not yet read the books of these philosophers and have no idea of their thoughts, I have given less importance to certain parts and focused more on general idea. I also advice this way of reading to beginners like me. Besides when you the general idea towards the end of the book, you will understand why the ironies and word games are done in the book.

Of course, try to understand the ironies, but I suggest to not focusing too much on those. If you keep reading, after reading the next few pages, you might understand the ironies better when on you return back to where you were stuck later on. Or at least my experience has been that way.

Friedrich Nietzche

Content of The Book

First of all, this book is a “Social Critique”. As can be understood from its title, this book examines the drawbacks of History and answer the question “What is the right perception of history?”. He also talks about the “History Culture” that accumulates a mass on society and sickens the communal mind of society.

Let me quote Nietzsche in a paragraph:

“History always puts its mark as ‘because it happened that way’; morality says ‘you shouldn’t do that’ or ‘you shouldn’t have done that’. Thus history becomes the handbook of true immorality.”

Friedrich Nietzche

Of course, Nietzsche does not claim that history is all bad. I think he actually criticizes herd psychology, people’s inability to think freely, to dare to create their own future and lives.

Read this book only if you are ready to put your effort into it. I guess Nietzsche wanted reveal his secrets to only those who could be friends with him.

Emin Ali Ertenü
Emin Ali Ertenü
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