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On Tyranny

Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Timothy Snyder



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Random House
27 February 2017
A controversial, timely intervention in world affairs from one of the most acclaimed historians of the twentieth century **NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER** 'A sort of survival book, a sort of symptom-diagnosis manual in terms of losing your democracy and what tyranny and authoritarianism look like up close' Rachel Maddow 'These 128 pages are a brief primer in every important thing we might have learned from the history of the last century, and all that we appear to have forgotten' Observer History does not repeat, but it does instruct.

In the twentieth century, European democracies collapsed into fascism, Nazism and communism. These were movements in which a leader or a party claimed to give voice to the people, promised to protect them from global existential threats, and rejected reason in favour of myth. European history shows us that societies can break, democracies can fall, ethics can collapse, and ordinary people can find themselves in unimaginable circumstances.

History can familiarise, and it can warn. Today, we are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to totalitarianism in the twentieth century. But when the political order seems imperilled, our advantage is that we can learn from their experience to resist the advance of tyranny.

Now is a good time to do so.
By:   Timothy Snyder
Imprint:   Random House
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 9mm
Weight:   118g
ISBN:   9781847924889
ISBN 10:   1847924883
Pages:   176
Publication Date:   27 February 2017
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Timothy Snyder is Housum Professor of History at Yale University, and has written and edited a number of acclaimed and prize-winning books about twentieth-century European history: Bloodlands won the Hannah Arendt Prize, the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award in the Humanities and the literature award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Black Earth was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the annual prize of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee. Snyder is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement. He is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a permanent fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences, and sits on the advisory council of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research.

Reviews for On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

The most coherent manifesto on confronting Trump... powerful. -- Sarah Ditum New Statesman Snyder's beautifully weighted book is the perfect clear-eyed antidote to [Trump's] deliberate philistinism ... Always measured in their observation, these 128 pages are a brief primer in every important thing we might have learned from the history of the last century, and all that we appear to have forgotten ... You will read no more relevant field guide to that wisdom than this book. -- Tim Adams Observer On Tyranny is a slim book that fits alongside your pocket constitution and feels only slightly less vital... Clarifying and unnerving... a memorable work that is grounded in history yet imbued with the fierce urgency of what now. -- Carlos Lozada Washington Post Urgent, indignant, winningly ragged in execution, On Tyranny is in the best tradition of polemical pamphlets. Timely agitprop, it offers some relief from Trump anxiety disorder. -- Lewis Jones Daily Telegraph We are rapidly ripening for fascism. This American writer leaves us with no illusions about ourselves -- Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature On Tyranny will help you keep going for the next four years, or however long it takes. -- Masha Gessen He is undoubtedly a scholar of great distinction and authority... If more people follow Snyder's injunctions to read newspapers, avoid falling for contrived online scandals , make friends across national boundaries and remember professional ethics then the world will indeed be a better place. -- Michael Gove The Times On Tyranny is [a] response to the rise of Donald Trump, although it is not, strictly speaking, about Trump, who is never mentioned by name. It is, rather, a primer in how to think historically -- Ken Early The Irish Times Following paths trodden by Hannah Arendt, Czeslaw Milosz and Vaclav Havel, Snyder has written a manifesto for surviving the political rampages of our time with our rights and freedoms intact... Snyder's book is addressed to the American reader, but its message is broader. Read in Budapest or Warsaw, it will have an especial resonance. He does not mince words on Brexit either... Slim and accessible, On Tyranny is a book to read quickly, ponder slowly and pass on -- Annabelle Chapman Prospect A slim volume more like a guide than a tome of historical scholarship, though Snyder drew on 25 years of research and writing -- Stav Ziv Newsweek Europe

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