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The Great Wave

The Great Wave

Author Michiko Kakutani
Publisher Crown
Publication Date 2024-02-20
Section New Hardcover - Nonfiction / Sociology
Type New
ISBN 9780525574996

An urgent examination of how disruptive politics, technology, and art are capsizing old assumptions in a great wave of change breaking over today’s world, creating both opportunity and peril—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning critic and author of the New York Times bestseller The Death of Truth. “In this dazzling and brilliant book, Michiko Kakutani explains the cascading chaos of our era and points to ways that we can regain some stability.”—Walter Isaacson, author of Elon Musk The twenty-first century is experiencing a watershed moment defined by chaos and uncertainty, as one emergency cascades into another, underscoring the larger dynamics of change that are fueling instability across the world. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, people have increasingly lost trust in institutions and elites, while seizing upon new digital tools to sidestep traditional gatekeepers. As a result, powerful new voices—once regarded as radical, unorthodox, or marginal—are disrupting the status quo in politics, business, and culture. Meanwhile, social and economic inequalities are stoking populist rage across the world, toxic partisanship is undermining democratic ideals, and the internet and AI have become high-speed vectors for the spread of misinformation. Writing with a critic’s understanding of cultural trends and a journalist’s eye for historical detail, Michiko Kakutani looks at the consequences of these new asymmetries of power. She maps the migration of ideas from the margins to the mainstream and explores the growing influence of outsiders—those who have sown chaos and fear (like Donald Trump), and those who have provided inspirational leadership (like Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky). At the same time, she situates today’s multiplying crises in context with those that defined earlier hinge moments in history, from the waning of the Middle Ages to the transition between the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era at the end of the nineteenth century. Kakutani argues that today’s crises are not only signs of an interconnected globe’s profound vulnerabilities, but also stress tests pointing to the essential changes needed to survive this tumultuous era and build a more sustainable future.

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