(K. Brent Tomer),
Age of Anger: A History of the Present. By Pankaj Mishra. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 405 pages; $27. Allen Lane; £20.
SOON after the Soviet Union imploded, Pankaj Mishra reminds his readers, The Economist felt able to assert that “there was no serious alternative to free-market capitalism as the way to organise economic life.” Yet today, the notion that a global capitalist economy hitched to a liberal internationalism can bring peace, progress and prosperity has taken a beating. That is evident not only in the violence in Iraq and Syria, where what used to be called the civilising hand has proven incapable of stemming the bloodshed. It is evident, too, in the vitriolic populism resurging at the heart of Western democracies—in Brexit, in the rise of Marine Le Pen in France and in Donald Trump’s tumultuous route to the White House.
Indian-born Mr Mishra divides his time between London and a retreat at the foot of the Himalayas. He earns a lot as a columnist for Bloomberg, and he sups at the tables of the Western intelligentsia. But he considers himself only a “stepchild” of the…Continue reading