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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

The Real World   Debuts of the Month   

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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.

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Synopsis

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

In 1942, a pianist from Manhattan convened the inaugural meeting of an extraordinary new fraternity, which promised to inoculate stage fright sufferers against the terrors that afflicted them. The venture, which coincided with the terrifying height of World War Two, was an astonishing success. They called it The Society of Timid Souls. Seventy years later, as anxiety levels reaches pandemic proportions, courage has become a virtue in crisis. We are all Timid Souls now. So Polly Morland reconvenes the Society for a new era, and sets out on a fact-finding mission. From the woman who performed her own caesarean section, to the surfer who took on a murderous sea, by way of freedom fighters, public speakers and emergency services workers, she seeks the truth about what courage today really means and how it comes about.

Reviews

Longlisted for the 2013 Guardian first book award Lively prose...Morland has written a wise and often moving account of a diverse group of extraordinary people who exemplify the bravery that inspires. - Richmond Times Dispatch

Morland's stories are well told and thought-provoking, and she has provided a wonderfully readable narrative. - Roanoke Times

The book's greatest strength is the author's brisk, witty voice, which conveys the seriousness of her subject in an agreeably light, humanistic tone... her journey is in turns thought-provoking, amusing and heartbreaking. - Kirkus Reviews

We all have a private definition of courage, which (I've concluded) we take to be universal; but as Polly Morland shows, there are all kinds of courage, and no necessary agreement on what it means. It's one of those books which encourages a reader to think again: always a good thing, in my view. -Hilary Mantel, author of Bringing Up the Bodies

Polly Morland has written a beautiful and extremely moving book about the quintessentially human trait of bravery. A widely recognized concept that almost no one really understands, bravery has long needed a serious exploration like The Society of Timid Souls. It is gorgeously written, deeply felt, and sharply researched. This is one of the few books I know that leaves me literally grateful to the writer for doing the work they do. I loved it. - Sebastian Junger, author of WAR

Using her documentarian's eye, Polly Morland has written a moving and deeply personal book; an examination of courage brimming with humanity. - Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire

Humans - from the Bronze Age onwards, when we first start to set down ideas about ourselves - have long asked, 'What is it to be brave?
With originality, wit, and no little gumption, Polly Morland pursues this same question. Thanks to hundreds of sensitive, face

-to-face interviews, her paean to timidity - as well asl


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

25th April 2013

Author

Polly Morland

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Publisher

Profile Books Ltd

Format

Hardback
320 pages

Categories

The Real World
Debuts of the Month

Social & cultural history

ISBN

9781781251904

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