Stranger Than We Can Imagine

Stranger Than We Can Imagine cover John Higgs

‘An illuminating work of massive insight’ Alan Moore

‘A sensational book. Heartily recommended’ Rufus Hound

It is the century about which we know too much, yet understand too little. With disorientating ideas such as relativity, cubism, the id, existentialism, chaos mathematics and postmodernism to contend with, the twentieth century, John Higgs argues, cannot fit easily into a traditional historical narrative. Time, then, for a new perspective.

Higgs takes us on a refreshingly eclectic journey through the knotty history of the strangest of centuries. In the company of radical artists, scientists, geniuses and eccentrics, he shows us how the elegant, clockwork universe of the Victorians became increasingly woozy and uncertain; and how in the twentieth century we discovered that our world is not just stranger than we imagine, but ‘stranger than we can imagine’.


Buy from Amazon UK | US | CA | ES | NL | DE | Audiobook from Audible



‘It was formerly held that a comprehensive history of the last century would never be written, by virtue of the fact that we knew too much about that frenetic and eventful period. Now, with the era’s ink barely dry, John Higgs demolishes this assumption with a breathtakingly lucid and coherent map of the tectonic shifts which drastically reshaped the human psyche, and the human world, within a hundred thrilling, terrifying years … An illuminating work of massive insight, in STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE John Higgs informs us of exactly where we’ve been and, by extension, where we are. I cannot recommend this magnificent work too highly’ (Alan Moore, author of V FOR VENDETTA, WATCHMEN and LOST GIRLS)

‘A beautiful, erudite, funny and enlightening tour of the widening boundaries of uncertainty revealed in the twentieth century, and who doesn’t need a book that explains quantum behaviour with a boxing bout between Putin and a kangaroo?’ (Robin Ince)

‘. . . a brilliantly stimulating tale.’ (Financial Times)

‘. . . a challenging book that stimulates the reader to think radically.’ (Daily Mail)

‘In Stranger Than We Can Imagine, [Higgs] broadens his intellectual reach to encompass modernism, situationism, chaos theory, indeterminacy and almost every other byway of that epoch. Higgs’s plate-spinning act is a fine example of learning worn lightly.’ (Adam Roberts New Scientist)

‘John Higgs takes a journey through some of the ‘curious backwaters’ of the last century in the excellent, and consistently intriguing STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE.’ (CHOICE magazine)

‘Hugely entertaining and thought-provoking’ (Scott Pack)

‘A great and truly enlightening read.’ (History Revealed)

A sensational book. Heartily recommended (Rufus Hound)

‘The best, most imaginative, most readable history book… No tired chronology of the Wars, Depression, or Vietnam here. No, instead you get a Bill Bryson-type rollercoaster ride of the ideas that made and broke the [twentieth] century.’ (Tea In The

Discussing the book on The Agenda with Steve Paikin in Toronto:


Discussing the role of the 20th Century in the work of Alan Moore:


International covers