Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety

Joseph LeDoux. Viking, $27.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-670-01533-7
Drawing on years of research, neuroscientist LeDoux (Synaptic Self) delves into the subject of anxiety and fear, depicting both emotions as cognitive constructs. Consciousness is key to his framework, which presupposes that to be either fearful or anxious about something is to be aware of it. Animals come up frequently as points of both comparison and departure from our experience as conscious humans. The intended audience is never explicitly stated but seems to be scientists and scientifically knowledgeable layreaders, though all the information is fairly comprehensible and made even more so through illustrations. It’s unclear to what degree LeDoux’s theories can be generalized to more practical applications: his sustained focus on animal emotions means that discussions of the countless people who suffer from anxiety disorders are relegated to the later chapters. This book’s sheer heft might be anxiety-provoking in its own right for some readers, but for the interested and informed it will open up new worlds of thinking and feeling. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/11/2015
Release date: 07/14/2015
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-14-310904-4
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