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 to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger, Pankaj Mishra answers our bewilderment by casting his gaze back to the 18th century before leading us to the present. As the world became modern, those who were unable to enjoy its promises of freedom, stability, and prosperity were increasingly susceptible to demagogues. It was from among the ranks of the disaffected that the militants of the 19th 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 embrace of mass politics and technology and the pursuit of wealth and individualism have cast many more billions adrift, 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.
©2017 Pankaj Mishra (P)2017 Tantor
"In this urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely study, Pankaj Mishra follows the likes of Isaiah Berlin, John Gray, and Mark Lilla by delving into the past in order to throw light on our contemporary predicament, when the neglected and dispossessed of the world have suddenly risen up in Nietzschean ressentiment to transform the world we thought we knew." (John Banville)
I loved this book and highly recommend following Pankaj Mishra and his work. However, I found some chunks to be a bit boring at times and my lackluster enthusiasm for historical details might have had something to do with that. Even so, Enlightenment ideas has a lot to do with today's social malaise and this work beings that into light and can help turn the dialogue of dualism and false dichotomies into a consultation of mutual understanding.
The language and ideas are highbrow, but they are not always well connected for the reader or listener. Some interesting concepts that are global in scope and highly abstract, but are hard to connect to concrete world. It might be one of those books that are better read than listened to. One that you underline or write in the margins, so you can flip back to an earlier idea.
good performance, interesting topic, but the book was lacking Ina cohesive thrust, ideally a pointed thesis). instead it read like a mish-mash of collected writings and quotes from philosophers and I struggled to follow it on a directional level.
No, His "lesson" of the past severely biased any appreciation of what Western societies have achieve and improved for the present.
Criticizing modern Western values and actions not taken in context. Certainly this is not a perfect world nor has it ever been but all things considered Western Europe, America and Canada have proven that their societal values are as beneficial and good or better than at any time in history.
He made repetitious historical anecdotes actually interesting despite the bias of the author.
Mainly disappointment in not understanding historical perspective and the root cause of most of history's tradgey--mainly small groups of evil men with superior weapons inflicting major mayhem on the minority of peaceful peoples.
I would like to ask the author why so many people desperately want to live in the West--if we are so depraved?
No, I would not recommend this book. It is ponderous and it seems to be out of chronological sequence at times. Nor did I feel that I gained any great insights from it. I did learn a bit about the conditions leading to a rise in nationalism.
I doubt it.
I haven't heard him before but he did a fine job.
I think the same premise about nationalism throughout history could be explored in a way that is more accessible to the mainstream, as opposed to this author.
The book had references throughout to historical events and people that were unfamiliar to me. Much of the time I just felt lost.
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