Fear: A Cultural History

Overview

In the United States, each day is color-coded for the level of threat; newspapers fill with gloomy news of climate crises; and the radio and TV bleat with Amber alerts, car crashes, and the war wounded. In this groundbreaking work, award-winning historian Joanna Bourke helps us understand the landscape of fear we must now navigate. Her review of the past two hundred years-from diagnosed phobias to the media's role in creating new ones-prompts strikingly original observations about the mind and worldview of the ...
See more details below
Paperback
$14.21
BN.com price
(Save 25%)$18.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $11.60   
  • Used (8) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

In the United States, each day is color-coded for the level of threat; newspapers fill with gloomy news of climate crises; and the radio and TV bleat with Amber alerts, car crashes, and the war wounded. In this groundbreaking work, award-winning historian Joanna Bourke helps us understand the landscape of fear we must now navigate. Her review of the past two hundred years-from diagnosed phobias to the media's role in creating new ones-prompts strikingly original observations about the mind and worldview of the "long twentieth century." Blending sociocultural analyses with psychology, philosophy, and popular science, this beautifully written and exhaustively researched book offers an authoritative look at one of our most powerful emotions.

About the Author:
Joanna Bourke is a professor of history at Birkbeck College

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From death and disaster to dangerous technologies, the number of things out there to fear is countless, argues British historian Bourke (An Intimate History of Killing), who surveys a pitted landscape of dread and panic over the past two centuries in this imaginative social, psychological and cultural history. She traces how what we fear changes over time as a function of broader social anxieties and stresses. In the hierarchical Britain of the early 20th century, for instance, a lower-class accent was regarded with unparalleled horror; today, no one cares. The Victorians were terrified of sudden, natural death; today, at a time when people worry about "the excessive prolongation of life after all pleasure has been removed," being killed instantly and without warning is for many the preferred way to go. For us, the most feared thing of all is the terrorist, the "equivalent to the plague of earlier times or the Satan of religion." Though Bourke performs sterling service, painstakingly picking over usually bypassed sources and materials for hidden clues as to what scares us, she indulges the fashionable fallacy that because some fears-of terrorism, for example, since 9/11-have been exaggerated and even occasionally exploited, there is therefore nothing at all to fear but, presumably, fear itself. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Originally published in Britain, this book considers things that go bump in the night and why they scare us from a social sciences perspective. Burke (history, Birkbeck Coll., London; An Intimate History of Killing) looks at our reactions to death, disasters, nightmares, combat, and nuclear threats, both real and imagined. The author uses a half-dozen or so very effective illustrations to document her discussion, including an early drawing of a "security coffin" with a cord and bell inside in case of premature burial. There is also a cartoon vision of "Panic on the Titanic," a harrowing photograph of a woman being restrained as she is taken to be lobotomized, and a child's use of a grinning devil to render terrorism. While the title and a glance at the table of contents might suggest a broad treatment of fear among different peoples through the ages, the focus is actually limited to British and American people from the 20th century to the present. Given the events of these past 100 years, however, this well-written discussion of fear and trembling is not unwelcome. Recommended for all libraries.-Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593761547
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Pages: 500
  • Sales rank: 1,042,564
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : fear 1
Afterword to the introduction : the face of fear 11
Pt. 1 Worlds of doom
Introduction 23
Ch. 1 Death 25
Ch. 2 Disasters 51
Afterword to part one : Emotionology 73
Pt. 2 Spheres of uncertainty
Introduction 79
Ch. 3 The child 81
Ch. 4 Nightmares 109
Ch. 5 Phobias 134
Afterword to part two : Psychohistory 159
Pt. 3 Whorls of irrationality
Introduction 165
Ch. 6 Social hysteria 167
Afterword to part three : fear versus anxiety 189
Pt. 4 Zones of confrontation
Introduction 195
Ch. 7 Combat 197
Ch. 8 Civilians under attack 222
Ch. 9 Nuclear threats 255
Afterword to part four : narrativity 287
Pt. 5 Realms of anxiety
Introduction 293
Ch. 10 The body 295
Ch. 11 Strangers 322
Afterword to part five : aesthesiology 353
Conclusion : terror 357
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)