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  • Published: 15 September 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141988108
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

The Light that Failed

A Reckoning




A landmark book that completely transforms our understanding of the crisis of liberalism from two pre-eminent intellectuals

Why did the West, after winning the Cold War, lose its political balance?

In the early 1990s, hopes for the eastward spread of liberal democracy were high. And yet the transformation of Eastern European countries gave rise to a bitter repudiation of liberalism itself, not only in the East but also back in the heartland of the West.

In this brilliant work of political psychology, Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes argue that the supposed end of history turned out to be only the beginning of an Age of Imitation. Reckoning with the history of the last thirty years, they show that the most powerful force behind the wave of populist xenophobia that began in Eastern Europe stems from resentment at the post-1989 imperative to become Westernized.

Through this prism, the Trump revolution represents an ironic fulfillment of the promise that the nations exiting from communist rule would come to resemble the United States. In a strange twist, Trump has elevated Putin's Russia and Orbán's Hungary into models for the United States.

Written by two pre-eminent intellectuals bridging the East/West divide, The Light that Failed is a landmark book that sheds light on the extraordinary history of our Age of Imitation.

  • Published: 15 September 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141988108
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

Praise for The Light that Failed

Witty, incisive, devastating: an unforgettable analysis of why the light of liberalism failed in Eastern Europe, and why resentment towards imitation of the West has fueled the furies of the populist revolt

Michael Ignatieff, President of Central European University, Budapest

This is a book about imitation by a couple of utterly inimitable authors. It is the most original explanation I've read of the self-destruction of the liberal West as universal utopia. Scathing yet fair

Peter Pomerantsev, author of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible

A bracing analysis of post-Cold War politics, upending cherished assumptions and forcing us to look afresh at the complex dialectic of liberalism and illiberalism

George Soros

An unflinchingly honest explanation of what has gone wrong in the west - and the east - since 1989

Financial Times

A brilliant, original book on the crisis of modern liberalism. . . a must read to understand our present discontents

Lionel Barber, Financial Times Books of the Year

A brilliant explanation of the mess we are in. . . written with wonderfully dry wit

Evening Standard Books of the Year

If you read one book to understand the state of the world today, make it this one. Aphoristic, counter-intuitive and amusing, a single page provides more insight into populism than libraries of books on Brexit or Trump. . . Extraordinary and compelling. . . Its subject matter is bleak but the deep learning, humour and humanity of its authors shines through

Mark Leonard, Prospect

An important book that fizzes with ideas. . . There is a smart insight or elegant paradox on almost every page. . . This book poses in stark terms the dilemma for those who took for granted the ideas that created the postwar western world

Sunday Times

Sharp, polemical and ideas-packed

Economist

Compelling and witty

Prospect Books of the Year

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