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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century Paperback – 2 Mar 2017

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
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  • Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin
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  • Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head (2 Mar. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847924883
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847924889
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"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 Václav 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)

Book Description

A controversial, timely intervention in world affairs from one of the most acclaimed historians of the twentieth century

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Timothy Snyder is a very gifted historian and a fluent writer. Along with Burleigh and Kershaw he has exposed the monstrosities of the evil regimes ruled by Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot and other tyrants who have murdered at home and abroad. His book Bloodlands ought to be on every history student's book list.

Snyder is Housum Professor of History at Yale. I have had the privilege of hearing him lecture. Some of his books have been prize winners. Black Earth was longlisted for the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize. He is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In this work he suggests that 20 lessons from history are invaluable if we are to avoid democracy collapsing as it did after 1918. History he agrees does not repeat but it does instruct. Aristotle and Plato warned that inequality lead to instability, and that demagogues exploit free speech to become evil tyrants. He points out that regrettably the history of modern democracy is one of decline and fall.

After the Great War, Nazi, Fascist and Communist leaders usurped democratic states by propaganda, lies, false claims and violence. They used myth, in the case of the odious Stalin, to offer a socialist garden of Eden that was a mirage, while Hitler propagated murderous biological theories about blood and race to win the support of a compliant nation. History can and does warn. So far, so good.

Snyder argues that there are signs that President Donald Trump presents a serious danger to American democracy. He cites, for example, his travel bans, the Mexico wall and his association with the Klu Klux Klan. His twenty lessons are formulated to help Americans avoid this. He compares what is happening in America with the Nazi regime.
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A knowledge of history will stop us repeating mistakes of the past, but we also need to see and understand what is happening now. Snyder brings the both together, with suggestions on how to keep them apart in future. Chilling , prescient reading.
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I found this interesting but less than I expected given some of the reviews I had read. My guess is that it has been produced in haste in response to the surprise election of Donald Trump and a more thorough analysis would have more impact.
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Reading this short but incisive tract while on a visit to Trump's America was very salutary.The ignorance,prejudice and maliciousness of the incumbent and his advisers and their blatant disregard for truth can only be viewed as unacceptable in a modern state which purports to be democratic while aping the behaviour of a dictator like Putin. Cave! Cave!
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Excellent concise review of how democracy has failed in the past and how it is failing now, and why we should do everything we can to stop that failure. Consequences of democracy failing are catstrophic for the world (fascism, tyranny and now potentially terminal war). A must read essay!
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A Short book but nonetheless worth reading. Timothy Snyder uses historical examples from all over Europe and Russia to show how we are always vulnerable to falling under tyranny. Despite this, the book gives ideas about how to resist and leaves you with hope for the future. Perhaps we may yet overcome.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An absolutely brilliant book. No one has explained the meaning of our present political moment, in light of the all-too-recent past, more clearly than Tim Snyder. This most recent account is chilling, illuminating, and provocative. Not only does it reveal the urgency of historical understanding; it also suggests how we might reorient our actions in the present to preserve norms of democracy, freedom, civility, and basic human kindness -- all of which seem to be slipping away before our eyes.
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Clear set of,suggestions and advice for all those concerned about post truth ,and leaders who are lying to us .Vital reading
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