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Sarah Vowell, with Violet.
Recommended for young readers
Age of Anger: A History of the Present
By Pankaj Mishra
Barnes & Noble
Vogue calls it “the first must-read of our frightening new era: Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger: A History of the Present. Over some 340 pages, Mishra—a celebrated Indian novelist and essayist—describes a rising tide of populism, xenophobia, and rage, and how it is lifting demagogues from West to East. Mishra’s working term for the feeling sweeping our world comes from Nietzsche: ressentiment, or “existential resentment . . . caused by an intense mix of envy and sense of humiliation and powerlessness.” The result, he writes, “is the sentiment, generated by the news media, and amplified by social media, that anything can happen anywhere to anybody at any time.”
How did we get to this troubling place? Mishra’s most fascinating argument is that we certainly can’t blame 9/11 or Al Qaeda or ISIS. We are not where we are because the modern enlightened West has been pitted against backwards-looking fundamentalists in the Middle East. Rather, the election of Donald Trump, the vote for Brexit, the rise of nationalism in Europe, and spectacular acts of Islamic terrorism are all of a piece. Mishra draws on a huge range of 19th-century thinkers and novelists to make his point that the last two centuries of so-called progress have left people from every part of the world (mostly men) feeling disastrously left behind.
In his NPR “All Things Considered” interview with Kelly McEvers, author Pankaj Mishra talks about the relationship between populist movements and governments around the world, in the past and present, here.
Why are politicians so enchanted with – and so wrong about -- the “shining city on a hill?”
Meet Sarah Jane Vowell, American author, journalist, humorist, and commentator, and the voice of Violet in the animated film The Incredibles. Vowell is a regular contributor to “This American Life” on Public Radio International, and is a New York Times’ bestselling author of five nonfiction books on American history and culture. The inside story so widely misquoted by conservative politicians and pundits from Ronald Reagan to Bill O’Reilly is included in The Wordy Shipmates, her 2008 collection of essays that examines the New England Puritans and their journey to and impact on America. She studies John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon “A Model of Christian Charity” – and the bloody story that resulted from American exceptionalism. And she also traces the relationship of Winthrop, Massachusetts’ first governor, and Roger Williams, the Calvinist minister who founded Rhode Island – an unlikely friendship that was emblematic of the polar extremes of the American foundation. Throughout, she reveals how American history can show up in the most unexpected places in our modern culture, often in unexpected ways.
Vowell’s most recent book is Unfamiliar Fishes (2011), which reviews the takeover of Hawaii's property and politics first by white missionaries from the United States and later joined by American plantation growers, ultimately resulting in a Coup d'état, restricted voting rights for nonwhites, and forced statehood for the small chain of islands.
Learn more about Sarah Vowell here.
THE UNITED VISION FOR IDAHO BOOKSTORE
These titles were chosen by faculty members of the Sociology Department at Boise State University.
More banned books are listed here.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. Every year in October, the ALA promotes Banned Books Week to raise awareness of the need for constant vigilance to protect our First Amendment right to free expression.
Here are 10 of the most frequently banned books in America. How many have you read?