Hoffer, Eric

Hoffer, Eric

(1902–83) writer; born in New York City. Unschooled and temporarily blind as a child, he read voraciously after recovering his sight at age 15. At age 18 he went to California and took up work as a migrant farmer writing on the side; from 1943 he was a dockworker. His writings, starting with The True Believer (1951), a study of fanaticism and mass movements, won recognition for their pungent, aphoristic style and perceptivity. Hoffer retired from the docks in 1967 but continued to be widely celebrated as "the longshoreman philosopher."