The Frankfurt School has been somewhat of a mystery to me. Mentioned in nearly half the books I read, their thought is synonymous with critical theory. I’ve gotten a lot of secondhand exposure to the school, and I’ve read a fair amount of Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, and Marcuse, but I’ve never felt a full grasp of the movement. Well, The Essential Frankfurt School Reader (Continuum) is here to fix that. It fills the holes and explicates the missing pieces.
The fundamental essays by the luminaries of the Frankfurt School are all here. Editors Andrew Arato and Eike Gebhardt have done a magnificent job of collecting the works that matter and of providing introductory material that explains their significance and places them in a historical context.
Barring a full-on graduate course, The Essential Frankfurt School Reader is likely the most complete introduction to these thinkers and their influence on modern critical theory.