Gray's Anatomy: Selected Writings

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Penguin UK, Mar 7, 2013 - Philosophy - 496 pages
1 Review

From the author of Straw Dogs, John Gray's Gray's Anatomy is a pugnacious and brilliantly readable collection of essays from across his career.

Why is progress a pernicious myth?
Why do beliefs that humanity can be improved end in farce or horror?
Is atheism a hangover from Christian faith?

John Gray, one of the most iconoclastic thinkers of our time, smashes through civilization's most cherished beliefs, overturning our view of the world, and our place in it.

'The most prescient of British public intellectuals' Pankaj Mishra, Financial Times

'Gray has consistently anticipated the shape of things to come ... he teaches us that true humanism is to be found in uncertainty and doubt' Will Self

'Gray's dissection of modern delusion, cant and wishful thinking is to be welcomed in this moment of convulsion ... This is a book to learn from and argue with' Ben Wilson, Literary Review

'A thoroughly enjoyable book ... These essays cover a remarkable range of topics, from Isaiah Berlin to Damien Hirst, from torture to environmentalism. But their unifying theme is that our naïve belief in the idea of progress has turned modern life into a constant round of shadow-boxing' David Runciman, Observer

'Demolishes the theory that we have reached the "end of history", the dogmas of secular liberalism, the weaknesses of financial casino capitalism and the limits of energy-intensive economic growth' Economist

John Gray is most recently the acclaimed author of Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions, Al Qaeda and What It Means To Be Modern and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. He is Emeritus Professor of European Thought at the University of London.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dmsteyn - LibraryThing

An extremely well-written and informative collection of essays concerned, broadly, with political matters, though some are more concerned with social commentary. Gray is considered a ‘conservative ... Read full review

Contents

New foreword Introduction
An Autopsy
Modus vivendi
John Stuart Mill and the idea of progress
Santayanas alternative
Oakeshott as a liberal
Notes towards a definition of the political thought of Tlön
the value of decency
What globalization is
The world is round
PART FOUR Enlightenment and Terror
The original modernizers
The Jacobins of Washington
a modest proposal
A modest defence of George W Bush
Evangelical atheism secular Christianity

George Soros and the open society
PART TWO The Euthanasia of Conservatism
Hayek as a conservative
A conservative disposition
The strange death of Tory England
Tony Blair neocon
Margaret Thatcher and the euthanasia of Conservatism
PART THREE From PostCommunism to Deglobalization
The system of ruins
Cultural origins of Soviet Communism
a fictionalist deconstruction
The end of history again?
PART FIVE After Progress
An agenda for Green conservatism
Joseph Conrad our contemporary
Theodore Powys and the life of contemplation
Homo rapiens and mass extinction
A report to the Academy
The body disassembled in Damien Hirst
As it
PART SIX Interrogations and Admirations
Ayn Rand and the rational dance
Eagleton and Hobsbawm 33 Less than nothing Žižek in praise of violence

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About the author (2013)

John Gray is most recently the acclaimed author of Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions, Al Qaeda and What It Means To Be Modern and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. He is Emeritus Professor of European Thought at the University of London.

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