If in this book harsh words are spoken about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my motive is not, I hope, to belittle them. It springs rather from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men. - Karl Popper, from the Preface Written in political exile during the Second World War and first published in two volumes in 1945, Karl Poppers The Open Society and Its Enemies is one of the most influential books of all time. Hailed by Bertrand Russell as a vigorous and profound defence of democracy, its now legendary attack on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx exposed the dangers inherent in centrally planned political systems and through underground editions become an inspiration to lovers of freedom living under communism in Eastern Europe. Poppers highly accessible style, his erudite and lucid explanations of the thoughts of great philosophers and the recent resurgence of totalitarian regimes around the world are just three of the reasons for the enduring popularity of The Open Society and Its Enemies and why it demands to be read today and in years to come.