Sir, Christopher de Bellaigue reviews a book by Pankaj Mishra (“In the danger zone”, Life & Arts, January 7) about the populist backlash as a product of western modernity. The work is based on the “wide reading of 19th and 20th-century Russian, French and Italian authors”. I find it all the more surprising, therefore, that both the author and the reviewer do not refer to Dialectic of Enlightenment, written by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, published in 1947. This work can be described as the most powerful attempt to explain the contradictions of modern western civilisation.

Claudio Pavan

Milan, Italy

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