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A Cultural History

List Price: $18.95

May 10, 2007 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 520 Pages | ISBN 9781593761547
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“The great merit of this... original and complex book is that it puts contemporary fears in their proper perspective.” —The Guardian

Whether we like it or not, an atmosphere of fear pervades modern culture. In America, each day is color-coded for the level of threat; newspapers fill with gloomy news of climate crisis; and the radio and TV bleat with Amber alerts, car crashes, and the war wounded.
In this groundbreaking work, award-winning historian Joanna Bourke helps us understand the landscape of fear we now navigate. Her review of the past two hundred years—from diagnosed phobias to the media’s role in creating new ones—prompts strikingly original observations about the mind and worldview of the “long twentieth century.” Blending sociocultural analysis with psychology, philosophy, and popular science, this beautifully written and exhaustively researched book offers an authoritative look at one of human kind’s most basic emotions.

JOANNA BOURKE is the author of the critically acclaimed An Intimate History of Killing, winner of the Wolfson History Prize; Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War; and Working-Class Cultures in Britain. She lives in London where she is Professor of History at Birkbeck College.


“Imaginative social, psychological and cultural history… Bourke performs sterling service, painstakingly picking over usually bypassed sources and materials for hidden clues as to what scares us.” —Publishers Weekly

“Joanna Bourke, graceful, shrewd, brilliantly compendious… has written a history as topical as your morning newspaper… This is a journey full of wit and scholarship, an enthralling read… original and complex.” —The Observer

“The great merit of this… original and complex book is that it puts contemporary fears in their proper perspective.” —The Guardian

“There is here a welter of fascinating, often contradictory material, culled from a rich assortment of sources—anecdotal, archival, professional, arcanely theoretical.”
The Independent

“Illuminating and unfailingly interesting.” —The Sunday Times

“Fascinating.” —The Sunday Telegraph

“Excellent and timely… This is a well researched and interesting book.” —Sunday Herald

“A fine book.” —Evening Standard

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