Ages of Discord on Track to Be Published in September



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As readers of this blog will remember, a month ago I announced the publication of my new book, Ages of Discord (see this post). Things got a little delayed because, as I was traveling in central Java, my computer suddenly died on me. On the plus side, I appreciated a vacation from the tyranny of email, which allowed me to immerse myself in the history and archaeology of Java and Cambodia. On the downside, the book production had to be put on hold until I got back home.

At this stage of book production, 99% of work is actually done by various professionals. Marta Dec, the illustrator, has produced a very handsome cover, in my opinion. Take a look:

Ages of Discord_v6.0

I would appreciate any comments on it (and we still have an opportunity to modify it if someone makes a compelling argument).

Here’s the mock-up of what the paperback should look like:


The editor Simon Reynolds is currently going through the final copy-edit, while Greg Laszczyk has already done 90% of typesetting. I worked with this team during the production of my previous book (Ultrasociety) last year, and I was happy to learn that all of them were available to help with Ages of Discord. As I learn more about book publishing and acquire a list of trusty professionals, the process becomes easier and more streamlined.

I have also advertised for an indexer, and I am currently in the final stages of negotiations with a very experienced one. In other words, and barring Acts of God, we are on track to publishing Ages of Discord later this month.


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Great news!

Approximately how long is the print edition? Approximate price? Digital price?

Ross Hartshorn

I think the cover is a good choice, it gives a lot of information but is still an arresting image. It will be most exciting, I think, to the kind of reader most likely to buy, which is a good match. Looking forward to being able to see the finished product!

Raymond Scupin

I look forward to reading Ages of Discord. If it is as good as Ultrasociety, everyone should enjoy and profit from it.

Ginger Griffin

The cover looks good. Can’t wait to read this!

Kishore K

Comments on the cover – the chart is core to reader interest. Should not be on crumpled paper, that too at an angle. Think you can show angle, crumpled etc for the word ‘discord’. Back copy – no endorsements at all? Too much copy for the average reader. 2nd paragraph should be bulleted questions only. And then bold the historical structural demographic sentence – think of it as the 5-10 sec pitch you have to catch the reader’s attention. Hope this helps. Of course, I’m going to buy it anyway:-)

Loren Petrich

I’m looking forward to getting this book. I’m hoping that an e-book edition comes out, because I don’t like being loaded down with lots of dead-tree, physical books. E-books are also easier to search through.

Isaac Asimov wrote a famous short story, “Nightfall”, about the people of a planet that is perpetually illuminated except for about a day every 2000 years, due to living in a multiple star system with another planet. These people go nuts during the darkness and destroy their civilization during that time, but they build it back up again. Some astronomers figure out what is going on, and they get some people to try to survive the coming disaster in a cave. They themselves try to get pictures of the darkening and also of mysterious rumored entities that appear in the darkened sky, the “stars”.

So by understanding cycles of history, we can do much the same thing.

Ed Downe

Looking forward to this book. Glad to hear of the progress.


This advice is not about the cover of the book, but rather its interior. I would suggest using a different font than the one you put in Ultrasociety–when reading that book, I found the font far too noticeable and distracting. Try to think about the books you have found most easy to look at, and base your font off of one of those.


the cover is good as it is but what you think of broke the graph page in half? this is the idea

the book is about discord after all. i read your divulgative works: very intersting. i don’t have skill to understand equations so i have to trust on you on this. As your other work i think that there is no hope to read translated in italian….


With regards to the cover, how about an image of two bald eagles locked in mid-air combat?


Hi, I’m really looking forward to the book. But on the subject of the cover, for me a crumpled piece of paper suggest something written on a napkin, some ideas tossed around just to brainstorm, a work in progress that is in its very early stage, so something quite far from the theory you seem to be proposing. I didn’t get the “discord” meaning of the image but maybe it’s cultural (i’m french and canadian).

Guillaume Belanger

Hi: I have greatly enjoyed reading this blog since I started a few months ago. I look forward to reading your new book. However, I believe the cover looks absolutely terrible, like a cheap textbook. If you expect to attract any reader that it not going to buy it regardless of the way the cover looks, I would recommend a complete redesign of this cover. Here are examples of nine covers for non-fiction books:

Guillaume Belanger

The primary purpose of a book cover is to get the person browsing in the bookstore to pick it up and look at it. This is also the purpose of the title, really, although it must convey more about the contents of the book. In any case, for the potential reader who is not looking for that book in particular, the most important is the appearance of the cover. So, it’s very important, unless you don’t care how many people read it, and are only concerned with the intellectual content and those readers who will buy the book no matter how the cover looks. The old expression “don’t judge a book by its cover” is part of our collective consciousness, but it doesn’t reflect the reality of the fact that there are way too many books, and if we are interested in getting readership we have to be sensitive to the fact that when we are in the bookstore looking at the thousands of books on display, we are looking at them with our eyes, and we do, in fact, judge the books by their covers, certainly at first.

Juan Alfonso

Congratulations, Peter! You are such a proliphic author! The book looks terrific.

Question: To what extent can it be applied to european history and demographics?…

Paul Gowan

I would like to see a different graphic that plays on the title. Could you have two political cartoon characters representing two ages (maybe even literally) glaring at one another or something like that? The graph seems too intellectual and doesn’t have as much immediate impact.
Maybe it could be a father-son picture or grandfather-son picture showing how how things have changed but still remain fundamentally the same.

Paul Gowan

Maybe two Hatfield and McCoy type crowds glaring at one another? There could be the King of France glaring at a peasant, a northern industialist glaring at a southern plantation owner, some Barons looking defiantly at the King of England etc.
The graph could be on the inside front cover.
An editorial cartoon can get the book’s thesis across much more quickly than the graph.
Maybe you could incorporate the graph as two hills with the Kings of each hill on their hill and others in the valleys.


How about using that John Brown painting and photoshopping the graph onto the pages of the open book in Brown’s hand?

Anyway, looking forward.


Any more news on a publication date? We’re waiting with eager anticipation 🙂


exciting! preordered.

Elliott Burrell

there doesn’t appear to be a kindle version. any plans for one?


Ouch. I too just realized that the book is only available in paper. I’ll buy the paper, I suppose, but I’d find it much easier to read an electronic version. Sometimes academic books are published with a higher price (albiet counter-intuitively) for the electronic version – maybe that would make sense here.

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