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Politics

How to Be a Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century

How to Be a Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century

Frank Dikotter

$29.99
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`Essential reading' EVENING STANDARD, BOOK OF THE WEEK `Elegant and readable' THE TIMES `A whistlestop tour' OBSERVER Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, Ceausescu, Mengistu of Ethiopia and Duvalier of Haiti.

No dictator can rule through fear and violence alone. Naked power can be grabbed and held temporarily, but it never suffices in the long term. A tyrant who can compel his own people to acclaim him will last longer. The paradox of the modern dictator is that he must create the illusion of popular support. Throughout the twentieth century, hundreds of millions of people were condemned to enthusiasm, obliged to hail their leaders even as they were herded down the road to serfdom.

In How to Be a Dictator, Frank Dikoetter returns to eight of the most chillingly effective personality cults of the twentieth century. From carefully choreographed parades to the deliberate cultivation of a shroud of mystery through iron censorship, these dictators ceaselessly worked on their own image and encouraged the population at large to glorify them. At a time when democracy is in retreat, are we seeing a revival of the same techniques among some of today's world leaders?

This timely study, told with great narrative verve, examines how a cult takes hold, grows, and sustains itself. It places the cult of personality where it belongs, at the very heart of tyranny.

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Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition

Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition

Francis Fukuyama

$22.99
Currently in Bill Gates's bookbag and FT Books of 2018 Increasingly, the demands of identity direct the world's politics. Nation, religion, sect, race, ethnicity, gender: these categories have overtaken broader, inclusive ideas of who we are. We have built walls rather than bridges. The result: increasing in anti-immigrant sentiment, rioting on college campuses, and the return of open white supremacy to our politics.

In 2014, Francis Fukuyama wrote that American and global institutions were in a state of decay, as the state was captured by powerful interest groups. Two years later, his predictions were borne out by the rise to power of a series of political outsiders whose economic nationalism and authoritarian tendencies threatens to destabilise the entire international order. These populist nationalists seek direct charismatic connection to 'the people', who are usually defined in narrow identity terms that offer an irresistible call to an in-group and exclude large parts of the population as a whole.

Identity is an urgent and necessary book: a sharp warning that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we will doom ourselves to continual conflict.
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The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty

The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty

Daron Acemoglu ,  James A. Robinson

$35.00
By the authors of the international bestseller Why Nations Fail, based on decades of research, this powerful new big-picture framework explains how some countries develop towards and provide liberty while others fall to despotism, anarchy or asphyxiating norms- and explains how liberty can thrive despite new threats.

Liberty is hardly the 'natural' order of things; usually states have been either too weak to protect individuals or too strong for people to protect themselves from despotism. There is also a happy Western myth that where liberty exists, it's a steady state, arrived at by 'enlightenment'. But liberty emerges only when a delicate and incessant balance is struck between state and society - between elites and citizens. This struggle becomes self-reinforcing, inducing both state and society to develop a richer array of capacities, thus affecting the peacefulness of societies, the success of economies and how people experience their daily lives.

Explaining this new framework through compelling stories from around the world, in history and from today - and through a single diagram on which the development of any state can be plotted - this masterpiece helps us understand the past and present, and analyse the future.
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Romanifesto: Modern Lessons from Classical Politics

Romanifesto: Modern Lessons from Classical Politics

Asa Bennett

$22.99
Despite the last days of Rome being around 1,500 years ago, the shadow of its empire - and what those who lived in it had to say - still looms large over modern politics.

Indeed, we would not think of `politics' as it is without our Classical ancestors. The word comes directly from the ancient Greek word polis, which refers to a city or state. Someone who had to take charge came to be known as a politikos. The Roman political scene was fuelled by ambition, ego and self-interest. People sought to get ahead by striking backroom deals or shaky alliances that would soon fall apart. Politicians were happy to stab each other in the back - and the front for that matter - if necessary.

Politics may be less bloody these days, but in many ways things are still the same. In our rush to keep on top of events, it is worth looking back to the Romans to understand what is going on.
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How to Rig an Election

How to Rig an Election

Nic Cheeseman ,  Brian Klaas

$28.00
An engrossing analysis of the pseudo-democratic methods employed by despots around the world to retain control Contrary to what is commonly believed, authoritarian leaders who agree to hold elections are generally able to remain in power longer than autocrats who refuse to allow the populace to vote. In this engaging and provocative book, Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas expose the limitations of national elections as a means of promoting democratization, and reveal the six essential strategies that dictators use to undermine the electoral process in order to guarantee victory for themselves. Based on their firsthand experiences as election watchers and their hundreds of interviews with presidents, prime ministers, diplomats, election officials, and conspirators, Cheeseman and Klaas document instances of election rigging from Argentina to Zimbabwe, including notable examples from Brazil, India, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States-touching on the 2016 election. This eye-opening study offers a sobering overview of corrupted professional politics, while providing fertile intellectual ground for the development of new solutions for protecting democracy from authoritarian subversion.
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Europe and Its Shadows: Coloniality after Empire

Europe and Its Shadows: Coloniality after Empire

Hamid Dabashi

$44.99
Europe has long imagined itself as the centre of the universe, although its precise geographical, cultural and social terrains have always been amorphous. Exploring the fear and fascination associated with the continent as an allegory, Hamid Dabashi considers Europe to be a historically formed barricade against the world.

Frantz Fanon's assessment that 'Europe is literally the creation of the Third World' is still true today; but in more than one sense for the colonial has always been embedded in the capital, and the capital within the colonial. As the condition of coloniality shifts, so have the dividing lines between coloniser and colonised, and this shift calls for a reappraisal of our understanding of nationalism, xenophobia and sectarianism as the dangerous indices of the emerging worlds.

As the far-right populists captivate minds across Europe and Brexit upsets the balance of power in the European Union, this book, from a major scholar of postcolonial thought, is a timely and transformative intervention.
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