Timothy Snyder

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On Tyranny

book | Feb 2017

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.


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Jake Smith-Bosanquet manages the translation rights for On Tyranny

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Reviews

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

Tim Adams
Observer

Slim and accessible, On Tyranny is a book to read quickly, ponder slowly and pass on

Annabelle Chapman
Prospect

Clarifying and unnerving... a memorable work that is grounded in history yet imbued with the fierce urgency of what now.

Carlos Lozada
Washington Post

The most coherent manifesto on confronting Trump... powerful.

Sarah Ditum
New Statesman

Urgent, indignant, winningly ragged in execution

Lewis Jones
Daily Telegraph

A chilling description of how authoritarian mindsets work

Hilary Clinton

Representation
Books
Tina Bennett

Email Tina Bennett
Books
Karolina Sutton
+44 (0)20 7393 4428
Email Karolina Sutton
Translation Rights
Jake Smith-Bosanquet
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Jake Smith-Bosanquet