Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia

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Macmillan, 2007 - Political Science - 242 pages
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.

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User Review  - jonfaith -

Samizdat selection, one that broached a rasher of interests. Inconclusive for sure, it was still provocative. Read full review

Review: Black Mass Apocalyptic Religion And The Death Of Utopia

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


1 The Death of Utopia
2 Enlightenment and Terror in the Twentieth Century
3 Utopia Enters the Mainstream
4 The Americanization of the Apocalypse
5 Armed Missionaries
6 PostApocalypse

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About the author (2007)

John Gray is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including Straw Dogs and Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern. A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, he is a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics.

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