Age of Anger

Age of Anger

A History of the Present

Book - 2017
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One of our most important public intellectuals reveals the hidden history of our current global crisis

How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world--from American shooters and ISIS to Donald Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger , Pankaj Mishra answers our bewilderment by casting his gaze back to the eighteenth century before leading us to the present.

He shows that as the world became modern, those who were unable to enjoy its promises--of freedom, stability, and prosperity--were increasingly susceptible to demagogues. The many who came late to this new world--or were left, or pushed, behind--reacted in horrifyingly similar ways: with intense hatred of invented enemies, attempts to re-create an imaginary golden age, and self-empowerment through spectacular violence. It was from among the ranks of the disaffected that the militants of the nineteenth century arose--angry young men who became cultural nationalists in Germany, messianic revolutionaries in Russia, bellicose chauvinists in Italy, and anarchist terrorists internationally.

Today, just as then, the wide embrace of mass politics and technology and the pursuit of wealth and individualism have cast many more billions adrift in a demoralized world, uprooted from tradition but still far from modernity--with the same terrible results.

Making startling connections and comparisons, Age of Anger is a book of immense urgency and profound argument. It is a history of our present predicament unlike any other.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780374274788
Characteristics: ix, 406 pages ;,22 cm.

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Persnickety77
Aug 03, 2017

Quote that sums up the book and our current world pretty well, in my opinion: "...the modern world where individual dissatisfaction with the actually available degree of freedom constantly collides with elaborate theories and promises of individual freedom and empowerment. It can only become explosive as inequalities rise and no political redress appears to be in sight."

Repetitive and unenlightening

f
franzkafka
Jun 11, 2017

Nietzschians of the world, Unite! If reading this book doesn't kill you it will make you stronger. God IS dead and has been replaced by nihilistic demagogues. Trump is the best example.
Between this phenomenon and the spectre of climate change we are, without a doubt, in the midst of The Sixth Extinction. We constantly hear things such as "by the year 2050...." the world will be in such and such a state of existence and so on and so forth.
I feel fortunate to be a senior now. I won't have to live in a Mad Max type of reality. A good read.

c
cello9flute
May 28, 2017

I think this man has something to say--if only he would say it! And he probably could have said it in a book half the size. He certainly has done a lot of reading--and he lets us know it--quoting the words and expounding the ideas of philosophers, political thinkers and commentators from the 18th century to the present. The problem is he jumps all over the place, spewing out a lot of generalities and abstractions. It is often hard to know what point he is making. Don't bother to read it--his only insight is that in a society based on equality there will always be resentment as people look around and see that others have more than they do and decide they got it by crushing them. Oh yes, and he thinks all terrorist are alike, Timothy McVeigh, Omar Manteen, Abu Nidal Hassan and others. There! I've told you all you need to know.

j
Jakedesnake
Apr 28, 2017

This book is not bad but it is SO BORING. I felt like I was reading a textbook as the author presents his different theories as to why populist and extremist ideologies, coming both from the left and the right. One redeeming factor is how balanced I felt this book to be, which is extremely important considering the subject. In the end, however, I could not finish it.

AL_PRINAL Mar 03, 2017

This is one of those books that is both fascinating and disturbing. The world is so full of grey, and we want to make it all black and white. This book articulates as much. Very educational read.

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