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The Society of Timid Souls Or, How to be Brave by Polly Morland

The Society of Timid Souls Or, How to be Brave

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Sue Baker's view...

How and why can we be brave, and even more interesting is the question of why bravery is different from risk-taking, showing-off and stupidity. And how about the bravery needed by someone like a fire-fighter, is that different to the bravery needed for risky sports like down-hill racing? Polly Morland, though interviews and studies of documentary evidence looks into the whole issue of bravery starting from her first investigations into The Society of Timid Souls, a help-group for performers, set-up in the 1940’s to help those suffering from stage-fright.

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The Society of Timid Souls Or, How to be Brave by Polly Morland

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?


Morland's philosophical, extremely well-written book suggests that while some people are obviously wired to relish dangerous lives, the timid rest of us may be braver than we think - Daily Mail

Compelling ... an appealing and original account of one of the greatest human virtues, full of powerful stories. It leaves you hopeful - Sunday Times

Morland approaches her subject with energy, tenacious curiosity and, however much she may protest that she is lily-livered, courage ... a bracing, moving and uncommon book Observer An eccentric, hugely likeable debut -- John O'Connell The Times

About the Author

Polly Morland

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

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Book Info

Publication date

15th May 2014


Polly Morland

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Profile Books Ltd


320 pages


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