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A prophetic warning against the foolishness of crusades, John Gray's Black Mass challenges our belief in human progress.
Our conventional view of history is wrong. It is founded on a pernicious myth of an achievable utopia that in the last century alone caused the murder of tens of millions.
In Black Mass John Gray tears down the religious, political and secular beliefs that we insist are fundamental to the human project, examines the interaction of terrorism, declining world resources, environmental change, human myths of redemption and a flawed belief in Western democracy, and shows us how a misplaced faith in our ability to improve the world has actually made it far worse.
'Brilliant, frightening, devastating'
John Banville, Guardian
'A brilliant polemic ... Gray's most powerful argument yet'
J.G. Ballard, Guardian, Books of the Year
'Causes vertigo when it does not cause outrage'
Sunday Times
'Exhilarating, invigorating'
Literary Review
'Savage. Gray raises profound and valid doubts about the conventional "plot" of modern history'
Financial Times
'A load of bollocks ... could hardly be more bonkers if it was crawling with lizards'
Sunday Telegraph
John Gray has been Professor of Politics at Oxford University, Visiting Professor at Harvard and Yale and Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. His books include False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals and The Immortalization Commission: The Strange Quest to Cheat Death. His selected writings, Gray's Anatomy, was published in 2009.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 5, 2008

    Penguin Press (UK Adult)

    352 pages

    RRP $24.99

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Also by John Gray

Gray's Anatomy
The Soul Of The Marionette
The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom
Practical Miracles For Mars And Venus
The Silence Of Animals
The Immortalization Commission
Gray's Anatomy: Selected Writings
Mars Venus


Red Notice
The Republic
The Republic
Age Of Anger
There It Is Again
Choosing Openness: A Lowy Institute Paper: Penguin Special
One Halal of a Story
On Liberty
Because We Say So
Inventing The Individual
One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future
This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus Plenty of Valet Parking - InAmerica's Gilded Capital
On Politics
The Price of Inequality
Dial M For Murdoch
Merchant, Soldier, Sage
Mine-field: The Dark Side of Australia's Resource Rush