Length: 320 Pages
A dazzlingly original analysis of the times we are living in by one of Britain’s most exciting thinkers
‘A masterpiece’ New York Times
‘Insightful and well-written’ Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens
In this age of emotional political conflict, there is less and less to agree upon. Experts are no longer respected as impartial; public debate is reduced to attack and counter-attack; the boundary between facts and propaganda seems to be dissolving. We live in a world not quite at war but nor exactly at peace.
How did things reach this point, and what can we do about it? In this enlightening, far-reaching and provocative book, William Davies explores how physical and emotional feeling came to reshape our world today, destabilising governments and placing us all on high-alert. Drawing on a 400-year history of scientific and political ideas, he shows how our sensations were once treated with suspicion, before being seized enthusiastically as a path to mass mobilisation in war.
As we enter a new technological and political era, this book reveals the origins of the nervous states in which we now live.
Length: 320 Pages
"[An] interdisciplinary masterpiece."
"If you read one book about contemporary politics this year, make it this one. William Davies is as acute and accurate on the shifts we are enduring as on the deep roots behind contemporary thinking (or not thinking, I should add)."
"The roots of our current anxieties are traced in [Nervous States,] an absorbing book fizzing with ideas… Davies is a wonderfully alert and nimble guide and his absorbing and edgy book will help us feel our way to a better future. "
"Wide-ranging yet brilliantly astute… Davies is a wild and surprising thinker who also happens to be an elegant writer — a wonderful and eminently readable combination. Nervous States covers 400 years of intellectual history, technological innovation and economic development, seamlessly weaving in such disparate intellects as Carl von Clausewitz, Friedrich von Hayek and Hannah Arendt."
"We should all read William Davies’s Nervous States, a concise, penetrating exploration of the role played by negative emotions in our recent politics and culture"