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On sale

8th February 2024

Price: £20

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399704359

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Knowledge is power. Time is money. Justice is blind.

Western civilisation is a powerful brand, and full of accepted wisdoms like these that we rarely question. Taking cues from Greek philosophy and honed in the Enlightenment, certain notions about humanity and society grew into the tenets many of us still live by today.

But if we take a closer look at these ideas, it seems they are not all they are cracked up to be. In fact, some of them are outright lies – and we can start to ask who really benefits from them. What is the value of a scientific worldview that conjured up ‘race’? Are the Western concepts of ‘saving’ and ‘wasting’ time really the best ways to live? Who are our laws actually designed to serve? And the real question: is the West as civilised as it likes to think it is?

In an age of division and entrenched inequality, Uncivilised is a timely, provocative and entertaining counter to the ideas and assumptions that have shaped the West, exposing the fatal flaws at its core.

‘Witty and accessible’ ANGELA SAINI
‘A vital piece of work’ ROMA AGRAWAL
‘Stunning’ DAN HICKS
‘Paradigm-shifting’ LINDSEY FITZHARRIS


Angela Saini, author of SUPERIOR
A witty and accessible survey of the shortcomings of western civilisation as many people imagine it
Roma Agrawal
A vital piece of work in our challenging times that reminds us of the rich history and influences outside the West. Das writes with passion and humour to open our eyes to the history that has shaped our world
Dan Hicks, author of THE BRUTISH MUSEUMS
A stunning debut. Subhadra Das shows how a word - civilisation - became a lie. She traces how that lie was repeated and transformed in universities and museums, and how it came to be embedded in the idea of 'western' culture itself. Clearly and passionately, Uncivilised shows us how to begin to dispel such enduring untruths - with seriousness and humour in equal measure
Xine Yao
With cutting wit and incisive insight, Uncivilised makes minced meat out of the leviathan known as 'Western civilization'. Imagine a brilliant curator-comedian guiding you on an irreverent tour through a grand museum - exposing its attics, sewers, and closets full of real and metaphoric skeletons. Subhadra guides us out of hallowed, hypocritical halls of the 'Ten Lies That Made the West', and shares with us the histories, knowledges, and ingenuity of those peoples and cultures dismissed as 'uncivilised'
Alom Shaha
There is a quiet, righteous rage that steams off the pages of this book. I can't help but wish it was a book I'd read many decades ago
Brenna Hassett
Everything you never knew you needed to know, told with wit and charm. Das unveils the hidden history that shapes every so-called 'fact' of civilisation with a wry sense of humour and an expert's knowledge.
Lindsey Fitzharris
Das traces the lies coiled serpent-like around the foundations of Western 'civilisation' with wit and elan, in a paradigm-shifting yet highly accessible tome. If there's one book you read this year, let it be this
Yomi Sode
Subhadra Das expertly takes us on journey, weaving wit and vulnerability within years of research. Uncivilised balances brilliant storytelling with academia, resulting in an unflinching debut that's hard to put down
Professor Erin Thompson, author of SMASHING STATUES
Using a fast-paced mixture of memoir, historical analysis and zingers, Das asks how well the Western world has lived up to the ideals it has set for itself, from impartial justice to the scientific method
Caroline Crampton, author of THE WAY TO THE SEA
Uncivilised will make the intelligent reader question everything they thought they knew, in the best possible way. Clever, funny and shrewd - everyone who cares about ideas needs to read this book