Arguably his most famous book, Moral Man and Immoral Society is Reinhold Niebuhr's important early study (1932) in ethics and politics. Widely read and continually relevant, this book marked Niebuhr's decisive break from progressive religion and politics toward a more deeply tragic view of human nature and history. Forthright and realistic, Moral Man and Immoral Society argues that individual morality is intrinsically incompatible with collective life, thus making social and political conflict inevitable. Niebuhr further discusses our inability to imagine the realities of collective power; the brutal behavior of human collectives of every sort; and, ultimately, how individual morality can mitigate the persistence of social immorality.
This new edition includes a foreword by Cornel West that explores the continued interest in Niebuhr's thought and its contemporary relevance.