Notwithstanding a title that screams of current events, Pankaj Mishra’s “Age of Anger: A History of the Present,” is a book of far greater ambition than its timeliness suggests. Though attentive to all the headline staples—the rise of nationalism and populism, the weakening of liberalism, the threat of virulent strains of radical Islam—Mr. Mishra frames these phenomena as manifestations of a much larger problem. The “age of anger” here is nothing other than modernity itself, as seen through the eyes of those to whom modernity has come late and partially—if indeed it has come at all.
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