First published in 1896, Might is Right is a vivid, passionate, and profound critique of Western Christian and liberal morals from a Darwinist point of view. A 1905 advertisement gives a sense of the book’s style and impact:
This is a pitiless and appalling book by an author of extraordinary virility and rugged primeval force, whose sense perceptions borders on the supernatural. Ten years ago private typewritten copies of this startling work sold in London and Berlin for $150. Since then the most powerful living minds have absorbed its teachings with satisfaction, but in guarded silence. Unquestionably it is the most pregnant and remarkable publication that has appeared in Christendom for 15 centuries. From its pages [Theodore] Roosevelt’s celebrated philosophy of ‘Strenuousness,’ ‘Race Suicide’ and ‘the Big Stick’ has been distilled and—diluted. Prince Bismarck, Paul Kruger and President McKinley read it in manuscript before they died; and it has given nerve and decisiveness to the world-shaking aggressive activity of men like Cecil Rhodes, Von Buelow, Chamberlain, Elihu Root, Kaiser William, Abdul Hamid and Von Phleve. It has also had its effect on General Castro, Admiral Togo, Senator Tillman, Grand Duke Sergius, Lord Kitchener, General Trepoff, and their ablest adversaries. Indeed it has influenced public opinion throughout the whole world by changing the thoughts and opinions of national leaders and editors in the most wonderful way. It positively alters the course of mens lives. It has affected the destinies of nations, races, religions. It has annihilated many popular Ideals hitherto believed sacred and impregnable. Nevertheless it is written as interestingly as any romance. Dr. Russell Wallace and Count Tolstoi criticize it in frank despair: and Bernard Shaw has written a drama (Man & Superman) with Redbeard’s thought as his theme: — and its power over the more intelligent followers of Marx, Lasalle, Jaures, Hearst, Bebel, Bernstein, is beyond calculation. In fact this book is a veritable religious and political earthquake, marking the complete collapse of a false and depressing philosophy that has held sway for nearly 2,000 years. The thought in this book is positively startling. It thrills across the empires and republics like the wakening trump of a Warrior Archangel. It out Darwins Darwin; it out Spencers Spencer; and, compared to some of its splendid chapters the writings of Machiavelli are as the babble of a babe. ‘Nothing is true’ it declares, ‘nothing is permanent; all things are open to you; the world is to the Strong; struggle is forever; they may take who have the power; they can keep who CAN.’ The author proclaims himself a Messiah of Evolution; — a re-incarnate Odin, whose mission it is to journey from nation to nation, and city to city, teaching and preaching the ancient, true, heroic and masculine Evangel of valor and gold. You cannot buy Might Is Right in more than half a dozen book stores of the world; nevertheless it has been translated into four modern languages; and over 120,000 copies have been sold in this country and in Europe. Orders are received from the most distant nations of the earth. You never saw anything like it before in all your life. It condenses centuries of experience and whole libraries of current futilities and idolatries into half a dozen splendid epigrams, that ‘once read can never be forgotten.’ This is an unprecedented book — an extraordinary book — and YOU should read it — then read it again, and lend it to your friends.
3. The Spinning of the Web
4. Man the Carnivore
5. The Chief End of Manhood
6. Love and Women and War
The Logic of To-day
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ragnar Redbeard is the pen-name of an author whose true identity is much disputed and probably will never be known with certainty. We can be sure only that he is the author of Might is Right.