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Before and After the Pandemic

Michael Burleigh



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C Hurst & Co
11 February 2021
We are said to be living in an age of anger, and national populist movements are often identified as its political manifestation. In Populism Michael Burleigh explores this new global era, drawing on his Engelsberg Lectures. The first chapter explores the nature of mass anger, mainly in Europe and the US: how might popular discontent be artificially incited and sustained by elite figures claiming to speak for the common people? The second chapter compares the difficult aftermaths of empire in Britain and Russia. Has that experience fostered these countries' sense of exceptionality and inability to evolve into normal societies? Many national populist movements exploit History, as we saw with the so-called 'statue wars' reignited in 2020. The third chapter ranges across Europe, but also China, where a nationalised version of History has become intrinsic to social support for the ruling Communist Party.

In the short term, COVID-19 has created problems for several populist leaders, whose image has suffered amidst the public's new-found respect for expertise and unfavourable comparisons with less shouty politicians who have handled the pandemic differently. Yet, with the looming risk of an extended economic depression, Burleigh fears that new post-populists may arise in the long run.
Imprint:   C Hurst & Co
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 190mm,  Width: 126mm, 
ISBN:   9781787384682
ISBN 10:   1787384683
Pages:   152
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Michael Burleigh was LSE IDEAS' inaugural Engelsberg Chair in History and International Affairs (2019-20). A regular commentator in The Times, the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, his books include The Third Reich, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, and The Best of Times, The Worst of Times.

Reviews for Populism: Before and After the Pandemic

'Burleigh is someone you'd not want to find on the other side in an intellectual bar fight. There is something of Christopher Hitchens about him in that he is erudite, seems to have read everything and knows how to deploy a crushing phrase. ... [The book is an] enjoyable set of semi-polemics, just about every word of which I agreed with.' -- David Aaronovitch, The Times 'A compelling page-turner, Burleigh has once again with his customary wit caught the currents of our times and made us re-examine what populism means and why it is so dangerous. He joins that rare band of writers who rush in where most academic angels fear to tread.' -- Professor Christopher Coker, LSE 'Before the populists can be defeated they need first to be understood. Michael Burleigh charts the history of the appeal of populism and gives us the ideal vantage point from which to view its flaws.' -- Philip Collins, Contributing Editor, New Statesman

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