Remember the name Pankaj Mishra. He may be the new Christopher Hitchens of the East. Public intellectuals are few and far between. Even more rare are those who can provide a window into a non-Western civilizational perspective. The new book “Ruins of Empire” warrants a closer reading to get a sense of the “the Rest’ may view the “West” in matters of global narrative.
Some on the right have dismissed the book as a polemic, but Mr. Mishra brushes aside the term. “If your writing collides with the conventional wisdom, there’s going to be some kind of friction,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in London. And when it comes to the mainstream media, he added, “there are still very few people presenting perspectives other than that of the West.”“From the Ruins of Empire,” to be published in the United States next Tuesday by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, is a richly detailed account of late 19th- and early-20th-century Asian intellectuals’ often bitter responses to what one Japanese scholar quoted in the book called “the White Disaster.”
A book review from Kirkus explains that the book is valuable as it “observed the West’s moral bankruptcy”–a rare, broad, and thoughtful perspective worth further reading.