Ferdinand Mount is the former Editor of The Times Literary Supplement. His book The New Few: A Very British Oligarchy was published in March. (June 2013)

When Our World Turned Upside Down

Pope John Paul II with a group of children in Czestochowa during his first papal visit to Poland, June 1979
We have lived through an Age of Astonishment, and have now come out on the other side, still a little bewildered about how we got here. Never before have so many savants—economists, political scientists, diplomats, sociologists, and commentators alike—been quite so stunned by the turn of events. In 1789 and …