John Higgs - Stranger Than We Can Imagine - Orion Publishing Group

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    • ISBN:9780297870890
    • Publication date:27 Aug 2015
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    • ISBN:9780297870906
    • Publication date:27 Aug 2015

Stranger Than We Can Imagine

Making Sense of the Twentieth Century

By John Higgs

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

An alternative exploration of history's most challenging century, from the author of THE KLF, 'a thing of endlessly fascinating, utterly demented genius' GUARDIAN

'An illuminating work of massive insight' Alan Moore

'A sensational book. Heartily recommended' Rufus Hound

It is the century about which we know too much, yet understand too little. With disorientating ideas such as relativity, cubism, the id, existentialism, chaos mathematics and postmodernism to contend with, the twentieth century, John Higgs argues, cannot fit easily into a traditional historical narrative. Time, then, for a new perspective.

Higgs takes us on a refreshingly eclectic journey through the knotty history of the strangest of centuries. In the company of radical artists, scientists, geniuses and eccentrics, he shows us how the elegant, clockwork universe of the Victorians became increasingly woozy and uncertain; and how in the twentieth century we discovered that our world is not just stranger than we imagine, but 'stranger than we can imagine'.

Biographical Notes

John Higgs is the author I HAVE AMERICA SURROUNDED: THE LIFE OF TIMOTHY LEARY, THE KLF: CHAOS, MAGIC AND THE BAND WHO BURNED A MILLION POUNDS and the novel THE BRANDY OF THE DAMNED. He lives in Brighton with his partner and their two children.
www.johnhiggs.com
@johnhiggs

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781780226576
  • Publication date: 11 Aug 2016
  • Page count: 352
  • Imprint: W&N
'It was formerly held that a comprehensive history of the last century would never be written, by virtue of the fact that we knew too much about that frenetic and eventful period. Now, with the era's ink barely dry, John Higgs demolishes this assumption with a breathtakingly lucid and coherent map of the tectonic shifts which drastically reshaped the human psyche, and the human world, within a hundred thrilling, terrifying years ... An illuminating work of massive insight, in STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE John Higgs informs us of exactly where we've been and, by extension, where we are. I cannot recommend this magnificent work too highly' — Alan Moore, author of V FOR VENDETTA, WATCHMEN and LOST GIRLS
'A beautiful, erudite, funny and enlightening tour of the widening boundaries of uncertainty revealed in the twentieth century, and who doesn't need a book that explains quantum behaviour with a boxing bout between Putin and a kangaroo?' — Robin Ince
'. . . a brilliantly stimulating tale.' — Financial Times
'. . . a challenging book that stimulates the reader to think radically.' — Daily Mail
'In Stranger Than We Can Imagine, [Higgs] broadens his intellectual reach to encompass modernism, situationism, chaos theory, indeterminacy and almost every other byway of that epoch. Higgs's plate-spinning act is a fine example of learning worn lightly.' — Adam Roberts, New Scientist
'John Higgs takes a journey through some of the 'curious backwaters' of the last century in the excellent, and consistently intriguing STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE.' — CHOICE magazine
'Hugely entertaining and thought-provoking' — Scott Pack
'A great and truly enlightening read.' — History Revealed
'The best, most imaginative, most readable history book... No tired chronology of the Wars, Depression, or Vietnam here. No, instead you get a Bill Bryson-type rollercoaster ride of the ideas that made and broke the [twentieth] century.' — Tea In The Cloister.com
A sensational book. Heartily recommended — Rufus Hound
'To paraphrase Colonel Kurtz, reading John Higgs is like being shot with a diamond. Suddenly everything becomes terrifyingly clear' — Andrew Male, Mojo
'STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE is a thought-provoking read. Its memorable anecdotes and signposts to further reading make it an enjoyable introductory text on twentieth century history, as well as an accessible guide to many of its more murky aspects.' — History Matters.co.uk
'an enjoyable and informative history' — Alastair Mabbott, THE HERALD
'From Freud to fractals, cubism to corporations, the topics covered are impressive in such a short book. Even more striking is how well he ties them all together. It's a bravura performance that's unreservedly recommended.' — Alwyn Turner, BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE
'Higgs recounts . . . with wide-ranging erudition and a delightful deadpan humour; a particular joy is the explanation of quantum theory via an example of Vladimir Putin fighting a kangaroo.' — Press Association
It was formerly held that a comprehensive history of the last century would never be written, by virtue of the fact that we knew too much about that frenetic and eventful period. Now, with the era's ink barely dry, John Higgs demolishes this assumption with a breathtakingly lucid and coherent map of the tectonic shifts which drastically reshaped the human psyche, and the human world, within a hundred thrilling, terrifying years ... An illuminating work of massive insight, in STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE John Higgs informs us of exactly where we've been and, by extension, where we are. I cannot recommend this magnificent work too highly — Alan Moore, author of V FOR VENDETTA, WATCHMEN and LOST GIRLS
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A journey along one of Britain's oldest roads, from Dover to Anglesey, in search of the hidden history that makes us who we are today.Long ago a path was created by the passage of feet tramping through endless forests. Gradually that path became a track, and the track became a road. It connected the White Cliffs of Dover to the Druid groves of the Welsh island of Anglesey, across a land that was first called Albion then Britain, Mercia and eventually England and Wales. Armies from Rome arrived and straightened this 444 kilometres of meandering track, which in the Dark Ages gained the name Watling Street. Today, this ancient road goes by many different names: the A2, the A5 and the M6 Toll. It is a palimpsest that is always being rewritten.Watling Street is a road of witches and ghosts, of queens and highwaymen, of history and myth, of Chaucer, Dickens and James Bond. Along this route Boudicca met her end, the Battle of Bosworth changed royal history, Bletchley Park code breakers cracked Nazi transmissions and Capability Brown remodelled the English landscape. The myriad people who use this road every day might think it unremarkable, but, as John Higgs shows, it hides its secrets in plain sight. Watling Street is not just the story of a route across our island, but an acutely observed, unexpected exploration of Britain and who we are today, told with wit and flair, and an unerring eye for the curious and surprising.

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