Black Mass: How Religion Led the World into Crisis

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Doubleday Canada, Feb 5, 2010 - Political Science - 256 pages
Fascinating, enlightening, and epic in scope, Black Mass looks at the historic and modern faces of Utopian ideology: Society’s Holy Grail, but at what price?

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 attempts at creating a secular Utopia, promising a new era of democracy and producing blood-soaked anarchy and an emerging theocracy instead.

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 geo-political struggles for the control of natural resources, apocalyptic religion has returned as a major force in global conflict.

From the Hardcover edition.

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BLACK MASS: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia

User Review  - Kirkus

Seeing history as a progressive narrative, especially one with a utopian ending, is a practice that has doomed earlier civilizations and threatens our own, argues Gray (European Thought/London School ... Read full review

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User Review  - Ioan Prydderch - Goodreads

The fact that as a man who considers himself very much of the Left finds himself nodding along in agreement with a conservative philosopher underlines the ideological relationship between socialisms ... Read full review


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Armed Missionaries

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About the author (2010)

John Gray is the author of the critically acclaimed books Straw Dogs, Heresies, False Dawn, and Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern. A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, he has been a professor of politics at Oxford, a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale, and is currently professor of European thought at the London School of Economics.

From the Hardcover edition.

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