Age of Anger Book Summary - Age of Anger Book explained in key points
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Age of Anger summary

Pankaj Mishra

A History of the Present

3.7 (66 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

'Age of Anger' by Pankaj Mishra is a historical and philosophical exploration of the global rise of authoritarianism and the roots of contemporary rage and resentment, contextualizing current political turmoil through discussions of the failures of neoliberal globalism and Western modernity.

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    Age of Anger
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    Societal upheaval and anger have been present for many centuries.

    Whichever way you look at it, Western society is built on the principles of the Enlightenment. If we’re going to understand the problems inherent in the modern world, we’re going to need a short history lesson.

    The Enlightenment is a shorthand term that refers to the ideas advocated by a group of European philosophers in the eighteenth century. They proclaimed the value of science, reason and art. They wanted humanity to break free from the shackles of religion above all.

    They claimed that any individual who pursued these core values, could be both equal to and as influential as every other member of society.

    These teachings form the basic principles of modern European society.

    When these ideas first circulated, there was much to be excited about. But disappointment soon set in. It was clear that adopting individualist and secular values wasn’t enough. Merely embracing these ideas didn’t enforce equality across society.

    In fact, the increasingly competitive society of the period only succeeded in cementing inequality. If the circulation of these rational Enlightenment principles did anything, it revealed wealth discrepancies and societal unfairness more clearly to more people.

    This still holds true today: middle- and working-class people are aware of their plight and remain disillusioned. It’s this suffering that makes them volatile.

    People are alienated. Their quests for autonomy, power and a voice have failed.

    In this atmosphere of disillusion, many have put their faith in strong leaders. From Napoleon to Trump, the phenomenon of the populist messiah is not a new one.

    In short, while the concepts behind the Enlightenment are stirring and powerful, the impracticality of implementing them has caused rage and friction to accumulate against the system and the Enlightenment values that underpin it.

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    What is Age of Anger about?

    Age of Anger (2017) examines the world and the upheaval it’s undergoing. These blinks look back to earlier societies and dissect the origins of our current travails. They also pay close attention to the philosophical teachings of the Enlightenment, which still influence Western thought today.

    Age of Anger Review

    Age of Anger (2017) explores the global rise of populism and extremism, providing valuable insights into the roots of anger and discontent in our society. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • By examining historical context and drawing from intellectual traditions, the book offers a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding the current wave of anger and unrest.
    • Through incisive analysis and thought-provoking arguments, it challenges conventional wisdom and prompts readers to question their own beliefs and assumptions.
    • The author's philosophical approach and keen observations shed light on the ways in which societal and economic factors contribute to the prevailing sense of anger and disillusionment.

    Best quote from Age of Anger

    A socially insecure as well as economically marginal lower middle class aimed its ressentiment at the liberal elite.

    —Pankaj Mishra
    example alt text

    Who should read Age of Anger?

    • Anyone with questions about the societal effects of globalization
    • Students of philosophy and history
    • Anyone with unanswered questions about the current state of the world

    About the Author

    Pankaj Mishra is an Indian author and essayist whose other works include From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia, which became the first book by a non-Western writer to win the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. He also contributes to the New York Times, the Guardian and the New Yorker as well as numerous other publications.

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    Age of Anger FAQs 

    What is the main message of Age of Anger?

    The main message of Age of Anger is the examination of the historical and social factors that contribute to widespread anger and resentment in the modern world.

    How long does it take to read Age of Anger?

    The reading time for Age of Anger varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Age of Anger a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Age of Anger is worth reading for its thought-provoking analysis of the origins and consequences of global anger. It sheds light on complex social issues and offers valuable insights.

    Who is the author of Age of Anger?

    The author of Age of Anger is Pankaj Mishra.

    What to read after Age of Anger?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Age of Anger, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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