The Great Wave: The Era of Radical Disruption and the Rise of the Outsider (Hardcover)

The Great Wave: The Era of Radical Disruption and the Rise of the Outsider By Michiko Kakutani Cover Image
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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.

About the Author

Michiko Kakutani is a Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic and the former chief book critic of The New York Times. She is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Death of Truth and Ex Libris.

Praise For…

“In this dazzling and brilliant book, Michiko Kakutani provides a sweeping look at the historical and social and technological forces that have crested to create the destructive wave of volatility that is disrupting our times. Drawing lessons from the Middle Ages to the Gilded Age, she explains the cascading chaos of our era and points to ways that we can regain some stability.”—Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Elon Musk

“Kakutani has written a prescient and important book about our perilous times, one that is keenly aware of the immediate dangers, the undertow, and where the calm seas are. Brava!”—Ken Burns

“If you’re trying to decide whether the world is going crazy or you are, Michiko Kakutani’s new book should prove uplifting. The Great Wave is a panoramic survey of the various forces pulling us apart, depositing us in isolated camps, replacing coherence with chaos. If you want to know where we’re headed, look elsewhere. If you want to know how we got here, The Great Wave is indispensable.”—Joseph Ellis, New York Times bestselling author of The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents

“Michiko Kakutani offers a profoundly inspiring and prophetic perspective on the contemporary world. The Great Wave captivates readers with its vivid and skillful prose, imbued with both passion and sagacity. It is an exceptionally rare book, marked by its deep, sincere, and precise comprehension of the formidable challenges that humanity faces in the third millennium. This may well be a pivotal turning point.”—Ai Weiwei, author of 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir

“Michiko Kakutani has somehow synthesized all the pain, promise, and hope of our wild and dangerous times into a slim but potent volume full of elegant thought and perfectly worded analysis.”—Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Our Country Friends

“Michiko Kakutani’s breathtaking saga is a master class through six centuries of world history. The reader is drawn in and touched by the reassuring yet mystifying image that echoes George Santayana’s wave, passing through one’s being as a shudder we are privileged to experience as it moves.”—Laurence H. Tribe, professor of constitutional law emeritus at Harvard University

“If you think about the current state of the world and wonder how we got here, you MUST read this book. Michiko Kakutani has written a wise, lucid, beautifully researched, and exquisitely written book that will explain it all to you in an effortless and buoyant piece of writing.”—André Bishop, producing artistic director, Lincoln Center Theater
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525574996
ISBN-10: 0525574999
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English