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Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    John Gray(Author)

    Book details

During the last century global politics was shaped by utopian projects. Pursuing a dream of a world without evil, powerful states waged war and practised terror on an unprecedented scale. From Germany to Russia to China to Afghanistan entire societies were destroyed. Utopian ideologies rejected traditional faiths and claimed to be based in science. They were actually secular versions of the myth of Apocalypse - the belief in a world-changing event that brings history, with all its conflicts, to an end. The war in Iraq was the last of these secular utopias, promising a new era of democracy and producing blood-soaked anarchy and an emerging theocracy instead. "Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia", John Gray's powerful and frightening new book, argues that the death of utopia does not mean peace. Instead it portends the resurgence of ancient myths, now in openly fundamentalist forms. Obscurely mixed with geopolitical struggles for the control of natural resources, apocalyptic religion has returned as a major force in global conflict.

'...a wise, furious and informative book about political and religious thought, and how they do and don't fit together' -- AS Byatt, Guardian Christmas books'John Gray's book...tells you to be afraid, be very afraid' -- Peter Conrad, Guardian'This is a stimulating enquiry into the religious roots of present day conflict...a total page-turner from start to finish...exciting and rewarding' -- Morning Star'[Gray is] the most important living philosopher' -- Will Self'[Gray is] the most important living philosopher' -- Will SelfThe most important living philosopher -- Will Self`I was impressed by John Gray's Black Mass, which rigorously takes apart the slippery connections between religious belief and ideas about history and politics - he is very good on the philosophical background of the neocons.' -- A.S. Byatt, TLS Books of the Year`[Gray is] one of the most brilliant - and funny - men I have ever met' -- Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

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Book details

  • PDF | 256 pages
  • John Gray(Author)
  • Allen Lane; 1st ed edition (5 July 2007)
  • English
  • 2
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy

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Review Text

  • By Starwalker on 3 May 2017

    Hmm. I was at first intruigued and interested by this book, but became bored with the unrelentingly dark vision it expresses. I wanted to see where the book would go 'beyond' the kind of religion he refers to, into something 'behind' these megalithic social/political forms. In that, I remained a little disappointed.

  • By FRB, London on 9 March 2017

    thought provoking, challenging - a refreshing alternative to the religious mumbo jumbo we are fed every day

  • By Ashtar Command on 22 December 2012

    I don't necessarily mind John Gray, but "Black Mass" isn't one of his better books. It's essentially an updated (and badly edited) version of "Heresies". Gray's fans might as well go for that book instead.Still, "Black Mass" clearly left *somebody* deeply disturbed. A reviewer in Sunday Telegraph implied that Gray must be anti-Semitic and compared him to David Icke! While Icke is never mentioned by name, the reference is obvious: "The CIA, meanwhile, has been taken over by shape-shifting lizards telepathically controlled by the ghost of Milton Friedman. OK, so perhaps that last sentence misrepresents Gray's argument; but Black Mass could hardly be more bonkers if it really was crawling with lizards." What triggered this little missive was Gray's criticism of the US-British war in Iraq.Five years later, Iraq is a stable, prosperous, liberal democracy, and so is Egypt, Libya, Syria...eeeeer....and then, maybe not.Incidentally, either Professor Gray himself or, as seems more likely, his publishers have a sense of humour. At the back cover of the book, we find the following negative blurb, attributed to the Sunday Telegraph: "A lot of bollocks...could hardly have been more bonkers if it was crawling with lizards".The lizards are still crawling, agent Mulder. :P

  • By Lee on 25 May 2008

    I picked this book up having been recommended the authors previous effort "Straw Dogs" by a college. Though I haven't read straw dogs, I was attracted by the discussion of Utopia.The book is well written and most of the central ideas of Utopia, Religious Apocalyptic History and political ideals are communicated well. The author takes time to develop his ideas and provides well drawn examples supporting his interpretation. In particular, his discussion on the USA's use of "facts" in certain ways to justify means is very interesting and entertaining. In addition to this, the book is enjoyable in that regardless of whether or not you agree with the authors conclusions, he is certainly not overly dogmatic.For me, what stood out was the books willingness to engage with the reader and get them to think. It is a book that asks many questions, more than it answers and really got me thinking about how to interpret history. For me, though the factual / historical focus of the earlier chapters was hugely entertaining, the final chapter was probably the most engaging. While I disagreed with certain aspects of it, that the author took the time to make conclusions that actually derived from his discussion, rather than simply being a restatement of what he thought, was particularly interesting and rewarding.My criticism of the book would be that some liberties with interpretation are given. The author is prone to oversimplifying ideas for the sake of expediency and on one or two occasions this seemed to me to be slightly misleading. For example, one of his descriptions of Aristotle's thought is far too reductive to do justice to Aristotle's thought. However, I understand that this was for obvious reasons concerning the flow of the book.All in all, a very entertaining and thought provoking read which takes time and effort to engage the reader, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone with an interest interested in the world and our interpretation of it.DD

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