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During fifteen years as a documentary-maker, Polly Morland worked as producer/director for the BBC and Channel Four, as well as for PBS and the Discovery Channel. Subjects she tackled included: the investigation of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, the reclusion of J.D. Salinger, the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11, the economics of organised crime, the archaeology of ancient Britain, the rise of political terror groups in Europe and Latin America and a controversial history of the Bible. In a moment of courage, Morland left her job to write this book. She was awarded a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award to support writing The Society of Timid Souls.
Author photo © John Searle
Coinciding with the terrifying height of World War Two, it was called The Society of Timid Souls. Seventy years later, as fear about everything from terrorism to economic meltdown has become part of our daily lives, Polly Morland reconvenes the society, setting out to discover what it means to be brave in an age of anxiety. Her journey - and this book - is full of amazing people and surprising ideas. It explores how and why people are brave, from battlefield to hospital ward, circus tightrope to suburban street, disaster zone to political protest. It throws light on some of the myths and lies that surround our favourite virtue. And most of all, it asks, can we learn to be brave?
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. An inspiring, revelatory and often moving investigation of courage in all its forms. From frontline to skyscraper, from mountain peak to suburban street, the journey takes in philosophy, literature, propaganda and popular culture, as Morland weaves together a modern anatomy of an age-old virtue, in order to discover how a Timid Soul may become a brave one.