Peter Watson - The Age of Nothing - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £14.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9780753828106
    • Publication date:11 Feb 2016
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780297859857
    • Publication date:13 Feb 2014

The Age of Nothing

How We Have Sought To Live Since The Death of God

By Peter Watson

  • Hardback
  • £30.00

The stirring story of one of the modern world's most important intellectual achievements: atheism.

The stirring story of one of the modern world's most important intellectual achievements: atheism.

Since Friedrich Nietzsche roundly declared that 'God is dead' in 1882, a raft of reflective and courageous individuals have devoted their creative energies to devising ways to live without Him, turning instead to invention, enthusiasm, hope, wit and above all various forms of self-reliance. Their brave, innovative story has gone untold - until now.

In THE AGE OF NOTHING, acclaimed historian Peter Watson offers a weeping narrative of the secular philosophers and poets, psychologists and other scientists, painters and playwrights, novelists and even choreographers who have forged a thrilling, bold path in the absence of religious belief.

From Paul Valéry and George Santayana to Richard Rorty and Ronald Dworkin, from Georges Seurat and Constantin Brancusi to Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg, from Henrik Ibsen to Samuel Beckett, from Wallace Stevens and Rainer Maria Rilke to Elizabeth Bishop and Czeslaw Milosz, from Sigmund Freud and Benjamin Spock to E.O. Wilson and Sam Harris, THE AGE OF NOTHING brilliantly explores how atheism has evolved, and gained unprecedented popularity as it has sought to replace an unknowable God in the Afterlife.

Atheism has had its share of ideologues, tyrants and charlatans but it is primarily a history of brave accomplishment and one that is far from finished. Watson's stimulating intellectual narrative explores the revolutionary ideas and big questions provoked by great minds and movements.

A sparkling and ultimately triumphant history, THE AGE OF NOTHING is the first full story of our efforts to live without God.

Biographical Notes

Peter Watson was born in 1943 and educated at the universities of Durham, London and Rome. He was deputy editor of New Society and spent four years as part of the 'Insight' team of The Sunday Times. He was New York correspondent of The Times and has written for the Observer, The New York Times, Punch and The Spectator. He is the author of thirteen books and has presented several television programmes about the arts. Since 1998 he has been a Research Associate at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, at the University of Cambridge.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780297859840
  • Publication date: 13 Feb 2014
  • Page count: 624
  • Imprint: W&N
I would not wish to have missed The Age of Nothing by Peter Watson, a brisk 565 pages on the displacement of God from Western Culture. — TOM STOPPARD, TLS - BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014
his erudition is formidable — THEODORE DALRYMPLE, THE TIMES
In a vividly engaging conspectus of the formative ideas of the past century, The Age of Nothing shows how Nietzsche's diagnosis evoked responses in may areas of cultural life, including some surprising parts of the political spectrum. — John Gray, NEW STATESMAN
I recommend this book to anyone who needs to know what the loss of religious faith has meant to the high culture of our civilsation and what, if anything, we might do about it.... (it) covers a whole century of intellectual endeavour as lightly as it can. — ROGER SCRUTON, THE INDEPENDENT
The beauty of this book is Watson's ability to impose order on a riot of ideas. — PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY
This book will appeal to anyone with intellectual curiosity about the human condition and the development of ideas. It will especially appeal to the non-religious reader. This isn't a book about, or even particularly in defence of atheism as a worldview, but it sets out objectively a history of non-religious thought that covers everything from science to poetry, incorporating philosophy, the rise of new age 'spiritualism' and therapy. — GREG JAMESON, ENTERTAINMENT FOCUS
There is much in this book that I did not know, and I am grateful to have learnt it. — Theodore Dalrymple, THE TIMES
his erudition is formidable — Theodore Dalymple, THE TIMES
The beauty of this book is Watson's ability to impose order on a riot of ideas. — Publisher's Weekly
This book will appeal to anyone with intellectual curiosity about the human condition and the development of ideas. It will especially appeal to the non-religious reader. This isn't a book about, or even particularly in defence of atheism as a worldview, but it sets out objectively a history of non-religious thought that covers everything from science to poetry, incorporating philosophy, the rise of new age 'spiritualism' and therapy. — Greg Jameson, Entertainment Focus
I recommend this book to anyone who needs to know what the loss of religious faith has meant to the high culture of our civilsation and what, if anything, we might do about it.... (it) covers a whole century of intellectual endeavour as lightly as it can. — Roger Scruton, THE INDEPENDENT
In a vividly engaging conspectus of the formative ideas of the past century, The Age of Nothing shows how Nietzsche's diagnosis evoked responses in may areas of cultural life, including some surprising parts of the political spectrum. — John Gray, NEW STATESMAN
W&N

General Jack's Diary 1914-18

John Terraine
Authors:
John Terraine

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 Captain J. L. Jack was serving with the First Cameronians, one of the earliest British regiments to arrive in France. Almost every day while serving in France and Flanders, Jack kept a secret diary. This diary is unique. It presents the detail of a regular officer's life at war during virtually the whole of the First World War on the Western Front. Jack was witness not only to the horror and wretchedness of much that happened in the trenches but also to the bravery and spirit that kept the British soldiers in the line going through to the momentous battles of 1918 and final victory. Poignant and moving, as well as describing the reality of war on the Western Front, these diaries have been edited and linked with commentaries by the distinguished military historian John Terraine.

W&N

Gainsborough

James Hamilton
Authors:
James Hamilton

** Selected as a Book of the Year in The Times, Sunday Times and Observer **'Compulsively readable - the pages seem to turn themselves' John Carey, Sunday Times 'Brings one of the very greatest [artists] vividly to life' Literary Review Thomas Gainsborough lived as if electricity shot through his sinews and crackled at his finger ends. He was a gentle and empathetic family man, but had a volatility that could lead him to slash his paintings, and a loose libidinous way of speaking, writing and behaving that shocked many deeply. He would be dynamite in polite society today.In this exhilarating new biography - the first in decades - James Hamilton reveals Gainsborough in his many contexts: the easy-going Suffolk lad, transported to the heights of fashion by a natural talent; the rake-on-the-make in London, learning his art in the shadow of Hogarth; falling on his feet when he married a duke's daughter with a handsome private income; the top society-portrait painter in Bath and London who earned huge sums by bringing the right people into his studio; the charming and amusing friend of George III and Queen Charlotte who nevertheless kept clear of the aristocratic embrace.There has been much art history written about this chameleon of art, but with fresh insights into original sources, Gainsborough: A Portrait transforms our understanding of this fascinating man, and enlightens the century that bore him.

W&N

The Husband Hunters

Anne de Courcy
Authors:
Anne de Courcy

Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, fifty years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world - the New World, to be precise. From 1874 - the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known 'Dollar Princess', married Randolph Churchill - to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age.Anne de Courcy sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, this richly entertaining group biography reveals what they thought of their new lives in England - and what England thought of them.

W&N

East West Street

Philippe Sands
Authors:
Philippe Sands
W&N

Desert Queen

Janet Wallach
Authors:
Janet Wallach
W&N

The Lost Chronicles Of The Maya Kings

David Drew
Authors:
David Drew
W&N

Blindfold and Alone

John Hughes-Wilson, Cathryn M Corns
Authors:
John Hughes-Wilson, Cathryn M Corns

Three hundred and fifty-one men were executed by British Army firing squads between September 1914 and November 1920. By far the greatest number, 266 were shot for desertion in the face of the enemy. The executions continue to haunt the history of the war, with talk today of shell shock and posthumous pardons.Using material released from the Public Records Office and other sources, the authors reveal what really happened and place the story of these executions firmly in the context of the military, social and medical context of the period.

W&N

Call to Arms

Charles Messenger
Authors:
Charles Messenger
W&N

Empire of the Deep

Ben Wilson
Authors:
Ben Wilson

The bestselling complete history of the British Navy - our national story through a different prism.The story of our navy is nothing less than the story of Britain, our culture and our empire. Much more than a parade of admirals and their battles, this is the story of how an insignificant island nation conquered the world's oceans to become its greatest trading empire. Yet, as Ben Wilson shows, there was nothing inevitable about this rise to maritime domination, nor was it ever an easy path. EMPIRE OF THE DEEP: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH NAVY also reveals how our naval history has shaped us in more subtle and surprising ways - our language, culture, politics and national character all owe a great debt to this conquest of the seas. This is a gripping, fresh take on our national story.

Orion

Hunter Killers

Iain Ballantyne
Authors:
Iain Ballantyne
W&N

River Out of Eden

Richard Dawkins, Richard Dawkins
Authors:
Richard Dawkins, Richard Dawkins
W&N

Time's Anvil

Richard Morris
Authors:
Richard Morris

A personal and lyrical rediscovery of the history of England through archaeology and the imagination.History thrives on stories. TIME'S ANVIL explores archaeology's influence on what such stories say, how they are told, who tells them and how we listen.In a dazzlingly wide-ranging exploration, Richard Morris casts fresh light on three quarters of a million years of history in the place we now think of as England. Drawing upon genres that are usually pursued in isolation - like biography, poetry, or physics - he finds potent links between things we might imagine to be unrelated. His subjects range from humanity's roots to the destruction of the wildwood, from the first farmers to industrialization, and from Tudor drama to 20th-century conflict. Each topic sits at a different point along the continuum between epoch and the fleeting moment.In part, this is a history of archaeology; in part, too, it is a personal account of the author's history in archaeology. But mainly it is about how the past is read, and about what we bring to the reading as well as what we find. The result is a book that defies categorisation, but one which will by turns surprise, enthrall and provoke anyone who cares for England, who we are and where we have come from. TIME'S ANVIL was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013.

W&N

Ideas

Peter Watson
Authors:
Peter Watson
W&N

The Gnostic Gospels

Elaine Pagels
Authors:
Elaine Pagels

As discussed in The Da Vinci Code... Long buried and suppressed, the Gnostic Gospels contain the secret writings attributed to the followers of Jesus.In 1945 fifty-two papyrus texts, including gospels and other secret documents, were found concealed in an earthenware jar buried in the Egyptian desert. These so-called Gnostic writings were Coptic translations from the original Greek dating from the time of the New Testament. The material they embodied - poems, quasi-philosophical descriptions of the origins of the universe, myths, magic and instructions for mystic practice - were later declared heretical, as they offered a powerful alternative to the Orthodox Christian tradition. In a book that is as exciting as it is scholarly, Elaine Pagels examines these texts and the questions they pose and shows why Gnosticism was eventually stamped out by the increasingly organised and institutionalised Orthodox Church.

W&N

The Great Divide

Peter Watson
Authors:
Peter Watson

How the division of the Americas from the rest of the world affected human history.In 15,000 B.C. early humankind, who had evolved in Africa tens of thousands of years before and spread out to populate the Earth, arrived in Siberia, during the Ice Age. Because so much water was locked up at that time in the great ice sheets, several miles thick, the levels of the world's oceans were much lower than they are today, and early humans were able to walk across the Bering Strait, then a land bridge, without getting their feet wet and enter the Americas. Then, the Ice Age came to an end, the Bering Strait refilled with water and humans in the Americas were cut off from humans elsewhere in the world. This division - with two great populations on Earth, each oblivious of the other - continued until Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America just before 1500 A.D. This is the fascinating subject of THE GREAT DIVIDE, which compares and contrasts the development of humankind in the 'Old World' and the 'New' between 15,000 B.C. and 1500 A.D. This unprecedented comparison of early peoples means that, when these factors are taken together, they offer a uniquely revealing insight into what it means to be human.THE GREAT DIVIDE offers a masterly and totally original synthesis of archaeology, anthropology, geology, meteorology, cosmology and mythology, to give a new shape - and a new understanding - to human history.

W&N

Rome

Robert Hughes
Authors:
Robert Hughes

A dazzling biography of the Eternal City - 'A tour of the great city with a great guide: who could do this better?' EVENING STANDARD.For almost a thousand years, Rome held sway as the spiritual and artistic centre of the world. Hughes vividly recreates the ancient Rome of Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula, Cicero, Martial and Virgil. With the artistic blossoming of the Renaissance, he casts his unwavering critical eye over the great works of Raphael, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, shedding new light on the Old Masters. In the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Rome's cultural predominance was assured, artists and tourists from all over Europe converged on the city. Hughes brilliantly analyses the defining works of Caravaggio, Velasquez, Rubens and Bernini. Hughes' Rome is a vibrant, contradictory, spectacular and secretive place; a monument both to human glory and human error. In equal parts loving, iconoclastic, enraged and wise, peopled with colourful figures and rich in unexpected details, ROME is an exhilarating journey through the story of one of the world's most glorious cities.

W&N

Cromwell, Our Chief Of Men

Antonia Fraser
Authors:
Antonia Fraser
W&N

Relish

Ruth Cowen
Authors:
Ruth Cowen

Fascinating biography of a 19th-century celebrity chefRarely has a man defined the spirit of an age as well as Alexis Soyer: celebrity chef, best-selling author, entrepreneur, inventor, philanthropist and Crimean war hero. Soyer built the world famous kitchens of London's Reform Club - which he filled with such ingenious inventions as the gas stove and steam lifts. He set up the most innovative culinary theme park ever seen in the capital, and devised the sauces and relishes that would make household names of Mr Crosse and Mr Blackwell. In the 1840s he set up revolutionary soup kitchens during the Irish potato famine, and in the following decade risked his life by travelling to the Russian peninsula to reform army catering for the troops - saving thousands of soldiers from the effects of malnutrition. Alexis Soyer was one of the most famous names of the early Victorian age, and his legacy lives on through the radical army reforms his work set in train. He was also ¿ in a similar spirit of the age - a secret womaniser, near bankrupt and alcoholic.Yet this brilliant man, who during his lifetime was more famous than the men he regularly brushed shoulders with - men such as Thackeray, Disraeli, Dickens and Palmerston - dropped completely from public view after his untimely death. His friend Florence Nightingale, never one to praise lightly, wrote that his passing was 'a great disaster' for the nation. Yet despite making several fortunes he died virtually penniless, his personal papers were destroyed, his funeral was a hushed-up affair and today his grave lies neglected and rotting in Kensal Green cemetery. This is the first full length, fully researched biography of Alexis Soyer, which explores the life, career and legacy of one of the most enigmatic and extraordinary figures of the Victorian age.

W&N

Bloody April

Peter Hart
Authors:
Peter Hart

The story of the decimation of the Royal Flying Corps over Arras in 1917As the Allies embarked upon the Battle of Arras, they desperately needed accurate aerial reconnaissance photographs. But by this point the Royal Flying Club were flying obsolete planes. The new German Albatros scouts massively outclassed them in every respect: speed, armament, ability to withstand punishment and manoeuverability. Many of the RFC's pilots were straight out of flying school - as they took to the air they were sitting targets for the experienced German aces. Over the course of 'Bloody April' the RFC suffered casualties of over a third. The average life expectancy of a new subaltern on the front line dropped to just eleven days. And yet they carried on flying, day after day, in the knowledge that, in the eyes of their commanders at least, their own lives meant nothing compared to the photographs they brought back, which could save tens of thousands of soldiers on the ground. In this book Peter Hart tells the story of the air war over Arras, using the voices of the men who were actually there.

W&N

Terrible Beauty: A Cultural History of the Twentieth Century

Peter Watson
Authors:
Peter Watson