'The kind of vision the world needs right now...Pankaj Mishra shouldn't stop thinking' Christopher de Bellaigue, Financial Times
'This is the most astonishing, convincing, and disturbing book I've read in years' Joe Sacco
'Urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely' John Banville
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 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 fulfil its promises - 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: 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 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 wider embrace of mass politics, technology, and the pursuit of wealth and individualism has cast many more millions adrift in a literally 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.
Urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely John Banville
Pankaj Mishra is the author of
From the Ruins of Empire and several other books. He is a columnist at
Bloomberg View and the
New York Times Book Review, and writes regularly for
The Guardian, the
London Review of Books, and the
New Yorker. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he lives in London.