Paradise: A History of the Idea That Rules the World

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9781845290016: Paradise: A History of the Idea That Rules the World
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This title offers the story of the human quest for perfection. The paradise myth has been one of the most powerful motivators in human history, influencing and energizing all kinds of individuals and groups. From the Assassins of twelfth-century Persia to the Pilgrim Fathers of America; from Pythagoras to modern-day downsizers, there have always been those who would seek perfection on earth. This hope for an earthly paradise drives humanity onwards, pressing for change and offering salvation. Yet, it also comes attached to religious beliefs such as Armageddon, original sin and martyrdom - all notions that influence modern life even when hidden beneath a veneer of secularism. Kevin Rushby traces the belief in paradise from its earliest origins down to the present day, taking in a vast array of characters, particularly from within Christian and Islamic cultures. The story carries us not only through the delights of the botanic gardens and utopian dreams of seventeenth-century Europe but also to terrible events such as the Holocaust and the atrocities of modern-day religious extremism. "Paradise" uncovers the history of an idea and in doing so reveals some of the key events and characters that have shaped our view of perfect happiness.

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About the Author:

Kevin Rushby has lived and worked in the Sudan, Malaysia, Thailand and Yemen. A full-time writer, his other books are: Chasing the Mountain of Light: Across India on the Trail of the Koh-I-Noor Diamond (1 84119 882 X), Eating the Flowers of Paradise: A Journey through the Drug Fields of Ethiopia and Yemen (1 84119 679 7), Children of Kali: Through India in Search of Bandits, the Thug Culture and the British Raj (1 84119 568 5) and Hunting Pirate Heaven: In Search of the Lost Pirate Utopias of the Indian Ocean (1 84119 488 3).

Review:

"'an outstanding book...exceptionally lucid, stimulating and thought-provoking' The Indpendent 'at his best evoking the sheer joy of travel', Literary Review 'a deft wit and a deep understanding of his territory', The Independent"

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