Age of Anger

  • by Pankaj Mishra
  • Narrated by Derek Perkins
  • 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"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)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Much Needed Dialogue for our Times

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.
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- Esotariq


Disappointing. This book purports to explain the recent rise of far-right, anti-globalist sentiment around the world (Trump, Brexit, LePen, etc., to say nothing of Isis), but the author's thesis isn't very compelling. He argues that contemporary manifestations of nativism can be traced back to Rousseau, who reacted to Voltaire's glorification of reason by celebrating personal experience and intimate communities. This is a bit too neat for me, too schematic. Only in the epilogue does he introduce the idea of other forces at play in today's world, including the rise of previously disadvantaged groups and growing income inequality. These last two phenomena are of extreme importance, especially the economic chasm between working stiffs and the richest of the rich. The American Dream said that anyone could make it, but nowadays more people believe they were sold a bill of goods—they can never make it. I would have liked more discussion of that, but it's outside of Mishra's argument.

On another note, I was puzzled by the book's lack of organization. It seemed to have no structure, and there was a great deal of repetition.

On a positive note, Derek Perkins's narration was excellent, and he made a conscientious effort to pronounce the many foreign expressions correctly, even if he didn't always succeed.
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- AR

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-07-2017
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio