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Be Very Afraid
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Be Very Afraid: The Cultural Response to Terror, Pandemics, Environmental Devastation, Nuclear Annihilation, and Other Threats

Robert Wuthnow


Be Very Afraid examines the human response to existential threats; once a matter for theology, but now looming before us in multiple forms. Nuclear weapons, pandemics, global warming; each threatens to destroy the planet, or at least to annihilate our species. Freud, the author notes, famously taught that the standard psychological response to an overwhelming danger is denial. In fact, the author writes, the opposite is true: we seek ways of positively meeting the threat, of doing something — anything — even if it is wasteful and time-consuming. The atomic era that began with the ... More

Keywords: existential threats, theology, nuclear weapons, pandemics, global warming, Freud, bomb shelters, denial, atomic era, Hiroshima

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780199730872
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730872.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robert Wuthnow, author
Princeton University
Author Webpage