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.
Jake Smith-Bosanquet manages the translation rights for On Tyranny
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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 closeRachel 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 forgottenTim Adams
Slim and accessible, On Tyranny is a book to read quickly, ponder slowly and pass onAnnabelle Chapman
Clarifying and unnerving... a memorable work that is grounded in history yet imbued with the fierce urgency of what now.Carlos Lozada
The most coherent manifesto on confronting Trump... powerful.Sarah Ditum
Urgent, indignant, winningly ragged in executionLewis Jones
A chilling description of how authoritarian mindsets workHilary Clinton