Black Mass

Black Mass

Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia

Book - 2007
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Baker & Taylor
Offering a powerful critique of utopian politics, a leading British social critic condemns the rise in the West of the belief that a single model of political behavior should become a worldwide norm that should be enforced with military might if necessary, tracing the evolution of utopianism from the Reformation to the present and its implications in terms of global politics and security.

McMillan Palgrave
For the decade that followed the end of the cold war, the world was lulled into a sense that a consumerist, globalized, peaceful future beckoned. The beginning of the twenty-first century has rudely disposed of such ideas—most obviously through 9/11and its aftermath. But just as damaging has been the rise in the West of a belief that a single model of political behavior will become a worldwide norm and that, if necessary, it will be enforced at gunpoint.
In Black Mass, celebrated philosopher and critic John Gray explains how utopian ideals have taken on a dangerous significance in the hands of right-wing conservatives and religious zealots. He charts the history of utopianism, from the Reformation through the French Revolution and into the present. And most  urgently, he describes how utopian politics have moved from the extremes of the political spectrum into mainstream politics, dominating the administrations of both George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and indeed coming to define the political center. Far from having shaken off discredited ideology, Gray suggests, we are more than ever in its clutches. Black Mass is a truly frightening and challenging work by one of Britain’s leading political thinkers.

Book News
After charting the course of millenarian utopianism from early Christianity through the French Revolution and other political upheavals, Gray (European thought, London School of Economics, UK) sets forth an argument that utopianism has dangerously infected the politics of the United States in the form of the neoconservative "War on Terror." Instead of embracing the teleological belief in the inevitable historical triumph of liberal democracy, he argues, we need to "accept that the gravest human disorders cannot be remedied, only treated day by day." Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2007
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780374105983
Characteristics: 242 p. ; 24 cm


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