Hannah Arendt was one of this century’s leading political theorists and most controversial public intellectuals. Her work challenges received opinions about politics and cherished conceptions of modernity. Firmly locating Arendt’s ideas in the context of our times, John McGowan here offers a clear, concise overview of Arendt’s work and its continuing importance. The book is organized around three central Arendtian themes: the unfolding of identity through political action, the modern assault on a richly pluralistic world, and the effort to comprehend evil. Arendt was both a commentator on the events of her time (from totalitarianism and the Holocaust to the Vietnam War) and a sophisticated political theorist. McGowan lucidly explains the theoretical and philosophical convictions that stood behind her various-and often controversial-interventions in contemporary affairs. He explores the new ways of thinking that Arendt’s work opens up regarding current issues such as human rights, identity politics, and participatory democracy. A concluding chapter connects Arendt’s thought to contemporary social theory and today’s political debates. Briskly written, McGowan’s book serves Arendt’s complex thought well while also rendering it accessible, demonstrating the unity of Arendt’s career and the continuing relevance of her concerns. Readers new to Arendt as well as those intimately familiar with her work will be intrigued and enlightened by this comprehensive and authoritative introduction.