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By Pankaj Mishra

Certainly one of our most vital public intellectuals unearths the hidden background of our present international crisis

How will we clarify the origins of the good wave of paranoid hatreds that appear inescapable in our close-knit world―from American shooters and ISIS to Donald Trump, from an increase in vengeful nationalism internationally to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger, Pankaj Mishra solutions our bewilderment by way of casting his gaze again to the eighteenth century prior to prime us to the present.

He exhibits that because the global grew to become smooth, those that have been not able to take pleasure in its promises―of freedom, balance, and prosperity―were more and more at risk of demagogues. the numerous who got here overdue to this new world―or have been left, or driven, behind―reacted in horrifyingly comparable methods: with severe hatred of invented enemies, makes an attempt to re-create an imaginary golden age, and self-empowerment via awesome violence. It was once from one of the ranks of the disaffected that the militants of the 19th century arose―angry younger males who grew to become cultural nationalists in Germany, messianic revolutionaries in Russia, bellicose chauvinists in Italy, and anarchist terrorists internationally.

Today, simply as then, the vast include of mass politics and know-how and the pursuit of wealth and individualism have forged many extra billions adrift in a demoralized global, uprooted from culture yet nonetheless faraway from modernity―with an analogous poor results.

Making startling connections and comparisons, Age of Anger is a ebook of monstrous urgency and profound argument. it's a background of our current concern not like the other.

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Extra info for Age of Anger: A History of the Present

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Rousseau prepared the way, even as he himself withdrew from society altogether, for neo-traditionalist backlashes to the smug bourgeoisie. A counter-tradition developed in Germany in symbiotic opposition to the liberal universalist ideal of the pursuit of individual interests; it insisted on seeking emotional satisfaction through self-education, community, ritual and commemoration. Fuelled by socio-economic discontent and cultural disorientation, militant nationalism and socialism restored the religious ideal of transcendence, making it seem realizable on earth.

2. Clearing a Space: History’s Winners and Their Illusions My times – my wild beast, Who will dare to look into your eyes And to weld with his blood The severed vertebrae of two centuries? But your spine has been smashed forever, My beautiful, pitiful age, And grimacing dumbly You now look back, feebly, A beast once supple and lithe, At the tracks left by your paws. Osip Mandelstam, ‘My Age, My Beast’ (1918) Our Way on the Highway of Progress In 1992, a year after the Soviet Union imploded, The Economist editorialized ‘that there was no serious alternative to free-market capitalism as the way to organize economic life’.

For them, life, devoid of its old rules, seemed to be beginning all over again: a purer, more beautiful and honest existence. As the months passed, and his sexual appetite and megalomania deepened, D’Annunzio began to see himself leading an international insurrection of all oppressed peoples. In practice, this short-statured man of humble provincial origins, a parvenu who tried to pass himself off as an aristocrat, remained simply an opportunistic prophet for angry misfits in Europe: those who saw themselves as wholly dispensable in a society where economic growth enriched only a minority and democracy appeared to be a game rigged by the powerful.

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