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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray, read by Douglas Murray.

The Sunday Times best seller

A Times and Sunday Times Book of the Year

Now updated with a new afterword by the author, The Madness of Crowds examines the rise of woke culture and identity politics as the great derangement of our times

Are we living through the great derangement of our times?

In The Madness of Crowds Douglas Murray investigates the dangers of ‘woke’ culture and the rise of identity politics. In lively, razor-sharp prose he examines the most controversial issues of our moment: sexuality, gender, technology and race, with interludes on the Marxist foundations of ‘wokeness’, the impact of tech and how, in an increasingly online culture, we must relearn the ability to forgive.

One of the few writers who dares to counter the prevailing view and question the dramatic changes in our society - from gender reassignment for children to the impact of transgender rights on women - Murray’s penetrating book, now published with a new afterword taking account of the book's reception and responding to the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, clears a path of sanity through the fog of our modern predicament.

©2019 Douglas Murray (P)2019 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

What the critics say

"Simply brilliant. Reading it to the end, I felt as though I’d just drawn my first full breath in years. At a moment of collective madness, there is nothing more refreshing - or, indeed, provocative - than sanity. (Sam Harris, author of five New York Times best sellers and host of the Making Sense podcast)

"Whether one agrees with him or not, Douglas Murray is one of the most important public intellectuals today." (Bernard-Henri Lévy) 

"[Murray’s] latest book is beyond brilliant and should be read, must be read, by everyone." (Richard Dawkins)

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What listeners say about The Madness of Crowds

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    2 out of 5 stars

Preaching to the choir and little else.

I got this book on the recommendation of Sam Harris because he implied that it was a study into groupthink and how modern Internet and outrage culture builds upon itself and can elevate previously fringe issue to the forefront. Instead, while a small portion of the book is devoted to this subject, the vast majority of it is just taking apart modern outrage culture, specifically on the issues of race and gender. It's more of an "anti-SJW" commentary, just presented in a more snobby tone.

I don't disagree with many of the points the author makes but this is just regurgitating the same points made by other commentators for years now, only with occasional credit given. If you have an interest in this book, you likely have heard and agree with most of these points already. If further affirmation is what you want, you'll get that here. If you wanted more of a dive into the theory of crowd-based hysteria, look elsewhere.

39 people found this helpful

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Necessary but not sufficient

Great topic and compelling level-headedness. While Murray does a good job of identifying contradictions and pointing out the least valid views within the sphere of identity politics, there is too much reliance on anecdotal evidence, and not enough discussion of more rigorous research. It’s easy to go for the low-hanging fruit, but Murray missed an opportunity to frame issues in detailed scientific light.

4 people found this helpful

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Astounding

A true generational warning about the state of politics and open social warfare within the western world. The author pulls examples from every day occurrences to demonstrate the unthinkable level of hypocrisy that tramples reason on a daily basis.

I do not think that this book is politically slanted either, as it's more neutral in essence. It reports on increasing illogical perception of race, gender and identity politics.

In short this might just be one of the readings required in schools around the world of the madness of a 2000's society and how we barely escaped a Geroge Orwellian nightmare just in time......I hope.

4 people found this helpful

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So important, done with depth and flair

I figure Social Justice is the most important issue of our time (at least among those issues which everyday people have any chance of impacting). This is the best general treatment of the the phenomenon that I know of. (Heather Macdonald's The Diversity Delusion would be a good companion piece, as would Haidt & Lukianoff's The Coddling of the American Mind.)

Murray writes deep, risky, and well paced books. I'm so glad he chose this topic. These days (Spring-Summer 2020), the poison seems to be going mainstream. And his title's diagnosis seems ever more apt.

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Social Critique Par Excellence

I struggle to think of a modern voice as clear and refined as Murray’s. Not only is the prose of the highest order, but Murray's reading of his own words makes one feel as if one is there in the room, speaking to him directly.
I would dare to say that the audiobook is probably the ultimate way to absorb this work. Many phrases are delivered with a certain acerbic bite that I can't imagine having quite the same impact without hearing Murray's delivery.
Murray is one of the rare intellectuals dipping into social commentary and critique who can, through his brilliant delivery and societal circumstance, get away with comments that, for many of us, could end our careers.
Do not miss this book. History will end up marking this book as a pivotal moment in the early 21st century culture wars.

6 people found this helpful

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Those who like Western liberalism will like it ...

but the Rarefied Postmodernists will hate it, because it helps the rest of us "unwashed" to begin to understand what is happening around us within Western Society and the sheer silliness of pushing identify politics when so much has been achieved in equality and diversity and inclusion.

It is interesting that Douglas Murray sees the fall of many civilizations associated with a fascination with gender confusion ... and here we go again. While the average farmer in Africa is simply working to find enough for his family to eat, we have spoiled Western children of rich parents virtue signaling without having a clue of what it really means to actually struggle.

Crowds will do what individuals will not to other individuals. Douglas Murray has a wry sense of humor that makes this an interesting read, and a skeptical view of "social progress" in Western society. Hopefully, more of us will pay attention and start working to nurture what we have taken for granted for so long, our individual right to have an opinion without being jailed or killed for it.

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  • JMS
  • 2020-04-05

Enjoyable listen

Murray’s main point is that, “Minimizing difference is not the same as pretending difference does not exist. To assume that sex, sexuality and skin colour mean nothing would be ridiculous. But to assume that they mean everything will be fatal.”

This listen is a fascinating perspective on oppression hierarchy, hysteria, and a reminder that all things “natural” are not automatically good or healthy (here’s looking at you, COVID19):

Full podcast review: https://anchor.fm/audiobookreviews/episodes/Review-of-The-Madness-of-Crowds-Gender--Race-and-Identity-by-Douglas-Murray-ebftea

2 people found this helpful

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A must read

well researched and brave book on the dangers of intersectional identity politics. I will probably purchase a hard copy for my collection.

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Thoughtfully walking across a minefield with grace

I really enjoyed this audio book. The author very carefully articulates the ideological challenges behind the progressive movement with well selected examples. I highly recommend to anyone looking for a path out of the madness.

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Plenty of Case Examples

The book was good. It got a bit sluggish in the middle, and I was nearly exhausted by the end; however you will benefit from Mr.Murray for he is an exceptional academic and thought provoking author. I wish the book had more data and philosophy, but I think his intention was to outline the modern extremes of intersectional theory.

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  • RBS
  • 2019-12-03

This book destroys WOKE MADNESS. Read it today.

I laughed more listening to this book than I have during many comedy shows. Frankly, Murray shows the Intersectional, Woke, blah-blah, academic-term-here movement to BE the comedy show. Social Justice Warriors should be questioned - they won't have facts - and then laughed at. The only way to reverse the madness.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Murray
  • 2020-02-25

Fun but weak

Having interesting insights on the one side, on the other side it verges on conspiracy thinking when speaking of Marxism or the "left". The audiobook was fun to listen to, however, it lacks depth, rigor and accuracy.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 2020-02-10

Rebutting on SJW craziness!

Douglas Murray does a great job of taking on and destroying the madness of social justice warriors in THE MADNESS OF CROWDS. The final summarizing chapters are especially strong. Murray does a nice job of narrating his audio book.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Nexus X Humectress
  • 2019-12-07

Eloquent Explication

If you get one book this year, this is the one. Tells how social justice is antisocial and fosters injustice.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Christian C.
  • 2020-04-13

Some light of hope in a fog of madness

The book is excellent. The content is logical, well written and shocking at times. The reader does an excellent job and fit the tone of the book. I learned about many frightening events that resemble the beginning of terrible moments of history. I used to be on the left side of politics, now I am gradually moving towards the center. I am glade I listened to this book and I am pretty sure I will listen to it again many more times.

It is refreshing and comforting to see someone courageous, intelligent and articulated enough to tackle the viper's nest that is identity politics. Murray knows what he is talking about and proves with many examples and facts the absurdity of almost any politics based on gender, race or sexual orientation. Some people will say that Murray is just showing one side of the medal, but we know about the other side, it's every where and every day in all the media. Why wast time explaining what is so omnipresent in our everyday life. Also, nobody will ever grudge a lawyer for not defending the other side.

25 people found this helpful

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  • C. Streetzel
  • 2020-04-12

Highly recommend

This book is a fantastic summary of the ideas that are causing Western Culture to spiral out of control. I have started buying hard copies of this book for close friends and family. I extended my thanks to the author.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Paul D. Everts
  • 2020-04-10

Wish We Would Use This With High School Students

Wow!! Mr. Murray does a great job sharing his views on the "evil" of crowds. Sure. There are plenty of examples of good with crowds. Yet, we need to teach our children to recognize when a crowd goes too far. Unless, of course, the student loses his / her ability to be the individual. We want students to recognize the evil of crowds before they choose to be in a crowd. I am grateful for Mr. Murray's courage. Thank you!

17 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-12-02

Ends on a note of hope.

Douglas Murray is indeed a prolific author and commentator on the tribulations of the relationship modern social justice activism has developed with the populous. In this book he offers an insight to the listener into the world of that is constantly outraged. From the pitfalls of elite institutions of humanities in the west in their exercise of affirmative action to the modern activists cannibalizing and outcasting an older generation of activists.
Murray does offer a glimmer of hope at the end, one rooted the Christian traditions of the west.

Although Murray does a great job of jotting down the madness of the twitter verse and offers a sobering insight into the complexities of human sexuality, when it comes to the brewing madness of right-wing populist movements around the world and especially in Europe and America, he does what most politicians do - condemns it has a blot on the providence of the developed world and moves on. Maybe it’s too difficult or degrading a topic to broach for Murray’s genuine efforts to help any young person grow out of or navigate what he calls the trip wires of the social justice mine field and the real-world consequences one might have to face for stepping on them.

Although Murray’s performance is great and the book is wonderful to listen to, it does feel at times a tedious commentary on social media scandals, filibusters that Murray offers and the quite un-relatable schadenfreude on western academics and corporate diversity boards. Murray does end on a note of hope and positivity that really does make the book worth listening to and reading. Kudos to him for writing this book.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Fissel
  • 2020-03-19

Masterpiece tale of the current state of the West-

Worth it just to hear Murray read lines from a Nicki Minaj song. Douglas goes into great detail to explain the current state of insanity we find ourselves in. A must read (listen?)

14 people found this helpful

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  • Collin Rudnik
  • 2020-04-03

Timely, insightful assessment of intersectionality

The book takes a step back to question the assumptions and underpinnings of intersectional thought, and finds it bereft of answers to life's most important questions.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Jon
  • 2021-01-01

Great book!

The mere fact that the contents of this books can't openly be discussed without a frenzy of castigation is a sad indictment of English speaking western society today... Hopefully this woke craze will not export well to other countries. A real bonus of this audiobook is that Murray is himself the narrator and the 12 hours just fly by...

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  • Clement De Dadelsen
  • 2020-10-27

A necessary book

A brilliant book to understand the madness and vanity of our time. Moreover, hearing the voice of the author himself is a treat.