On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

An historian of fascism offers a guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn towards authoritarianism.On November 9th, millions of Americans woke up to the impossible: the election of Donald Trump as president. Against all predictions, one of the most-disliked presidential candidates in history had swept the electoral college, elevating a man with open contempt for de...

Title:On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century Reviews

  • Matt

    (from a recent

    ; worth reading!)

    Reading this book is imperative. You may not get another chance.

    In twenty small lessons Timothy Snyder, history professor at Yale university and specialized in East European history and the holocaust, illustrates how oppressive regimes and authoritarian governments worked in the past and what might be done to avoid and crush them in the present. The

    (from a recent

    ; worth reading!)

    Reading this book is imperative. You may not get another chance.

    In twenty small lessons Timothy Snyder, history professor at Yale university and specialized in East European history and the holocaust, illustrates how oppressive regimes and authoritarian governments worked in the past and what might be done to avoid and crush them in the present. The book is clearly addressed at the American people, but anyone anywhere with any sense of freedom

    security for themselves and for their loved ones now or in the future must read it too. The book has a sense of urgency which can hardly be ignored and which I actually didn’t expect from a historian.

    This is not a scientific work. It is noticeable that the author has sought a language which is understandable to laymen and I think he found it. Whoever, after reading the book, does not yet understand what hour the clock of the world has struck, can not be helped. The chapter headings correspond to instructions and the text contains reasons why it is important to act on them. And acting now is crucial; before it gets too late. That’s the author’s opinion and that’s the opinion of the reviewer as well.

    #readingagainsttrump

    This work is licensed under a

    .

  • Ammar

    Timely read for what is facing the free world in 2017. A Book to show how to be different, read books, find out the truth and don't be a blind follower, because between democracy and tyranny a thin blue line and many are tempted to cross it.

    Be smart

    Be a rebel

  • Lisa

    “If young people do not begin to make history, politicians of eternity and inevitability will destroy it. And to make history, they need to know some. This is not the end, but a beginning.”

    The closing lines of this extended essay, divided into twenty lessons on history in its relation to current happenings, speak to me on a personal level. That is what I have been thinking about, and working for, as long as I can remember. Learning from the past is not only a widely neglected subject in school,

    “If young people do not begin to make history, politicians of eternity and inevitability will destroy it. And to make history, they need to know some. This is not the end, but a beginning.”

    The closing lines of this extended essay, divided into twenty lessons on history in its relation to current happenings, speak to me on a personal level. That is what I have been thinking about, and working for, as long as I can remember. Learning from the past is not only a widely neglected subject in school, it is a necessity for democratic society to survive.

    Step by step, Snyder approaches the various undermining factors of fascist propaganda that have proven successful over and over again in the world. He keeps it short, and simple, and refers to standard books by famous authors, both fiction writers and philosophers, for deeper understanding of the birth and maintenance of tyranny.

    He also suggests different ways of resisting the political brainwashing tendencies, and of keeping an independent mind in the midst of mob behaviour. One root of fascist success is the general human need to belong, and to conform, and go with the crowd. In a chilling example, he describes the terror that Nazi functionaries were able to create with the help of countless regular people:

    “Some killed of murderous conviction. But many others who killed were just afraid to stand out. Other forces were at work besides conformism. But without the conformists, the great atrocities would have been impossible.”

    Hannah Arendt is cited, describing the moment after the Reichstagsbrand, when she realised that you could no longer be a bystander, watching terror and misinformation hypnotise a whole nation.

    Another important topic, often raised with my students in class, is the dehumanising effect of internet traffic. Inhibitions are cast off, people forget that what they say is extreme, and extremely hurtful. They are feeling strong in a selected collective, and need “an opposition” to fuel their discussions. A simple suggestion is to get out in the real world, make eye contact with real people, and dare engaging in small talk with people outside your comfort zone. This is a vital point, especially in our Swedish environment, where people naturally shy away even from basic forms of polite greetings. The danger of disappearing in an unreal internet community feeding conspiracy fears and distorting reality is omnipresent. My parents, living on the continent for almost 30 years, are shocked whenever they visit their home country and realise the complete isolation from other human beings in Sweden.

    The tyrannies of the 20th century used the mass media available to them at the time - radio, and later television - to transmit their messages, and now the internet fills that function. We have one enormous advantage (which of course has its negative aspects as well), and that is our active participation in it. Even though the flow of (mis)information is part of the root of the new fascist success in the world, it can also be used by people to gently bring more nuance and knowledge into the debate:

    “Since in the age of the internet we are all publishers, each of us bears some private responsibility for the public’s sense of truth.”

    I think that is of massive importance. Think before you write, reflect on consequences, for yourself and others, and be careful not to add to the populist agenda by using the reductionist vocabulary and simplified, nationalist fear tactics to convince people.

    Snyder’s essay is short, and only scratches the surface of a huge topic, which deserves more reflection than the author can possibly deliver given the format. I nonetheless think it has a valuable place in the current debate for its clear introduction and reference to further literature, as well as for the remarkable historical parallels which make the fault lines of history visible. I can imagine reading it with teenage students as a point of departure for overarching discussions, but also to read it privately as a simple reminder of what a powerless individual can do to intellectually survive in an increasingly poisoned political atmosphere.

    A good, solid recommendation! Thank you, Matt for encouraging me to read it - I am passing it on to my own teenage son!

  • Peter Bradley

    Please give my review a helpful vote on Amazon -

    A sad example of how ideology distorts scholarship.

    I purchased this expecting a thoughtful discussion about the lessons that an academic can draw from 20th century totalitarianism. I was hopeful about something insight and depth from the author of Bloodlands, which did a really good job of bracketing Nazism and Communism into a coherent narrative.

    This is not that book. To save those who might not know, auth

    Please give my review a helpful vote on Amazon -

    A sad example of how ideology distorts scholarship.

    I purchased this expecting a thoughtful discussion about the lessons that an academic can draw from 20th century totalitarianism. I was hopeful about something insight and depth from the author of Bloodlands, which did a really good job of bracketing Nazism and Communism into a coherent narrative.

    This is not that book. To save those who might not know, author Timothy Snyder's central thesis is that the current Republican President is Literally Hitler. Of course, this should probably not come as a surprise. Every Republican president is Literally Hitler during their tenure, and then they are rehabilitated as the Model of Bipartisanship to be used against the next Republican President who is Literally Hitler. George Bush is now in the middle of rehabilitation as the Model of Bipartisanship, but there are those of us who remember that not so long he was Bushitler.

    I expected better.

    I wanted to give Snyder some credit for some his observations. Some of his points about tyranny are classic and memorable.

    Unfortunately, I have to wonder where he was for the last eight years. During the last eight years, many people of faith have felt that they were under the heels of a tyranny that threatened to divide us from the rest of America and make us give up our freedom of conscience in order to avoid governmental oppression. The 2016 presidential campaign began, let us remember, with the perennial Democrat shill George Stephanopolous asking an off-the-wall question about contraception. Pretty soon, we saw a presidential campaign largely framed around the idea that Catholics were UnAmerican dissenters who irrationally refused to pay for contraception. The Little Sisters of Poor were required to toss a pinch of incense to appease abortion lest they face draconian penalties that would end their historic mission of caring for the poor. Likewise, we saw the government centralize and make a grab for a substantial part of the economy with that mis-named Affordable Health Care Act, that carried with the unprecedented intrusion into personal life and personal decision-making by requiring that Americans divert upwards of 20% of their income into the purchase of health insurance to the enrichment of insurance companies.

    Although any of this could be described quite easily as "fascist", we heard nothing from Snyder.

    Likewise, the last eight years has seen an unprecedented normalization of hostility to free-speech, as colleges have instituted speech codes and rules against triggering and have assaulted and intimidated people who didn't adhere to the progressive line.

    But, again, nothing from Snyder.

    During the last presidential campaign we saw videos of the loser's side attacking, hitting, punching throwing things at, and assaulting those on the president's side. We've seen riots in the aftermath of an election and attempt to get Electors to violate their oaths.

    One might have seen in this the image of Brownshirts and the destruction of democracy by ignoring the spirit of the law, but, again, nothing from Snyder.

    Similarly, we remember that under the former president, the IRS was used in an unprecedented way to harass and target conservatives. One might view this as an unhealthy fascist tendency.

    But, again, crickets from Snyder.

    It is an interesting feature of Snyder's slim book - which is easily read in a single sitting - that it is so conservative. For example, Snyder gives teh very good advice that "institutions should be defended." Quite right, but notice this from his book:

    "It is institutions that help us to preserve decency. They need our help as well. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning. So choose an institution you care about—a court, a newspaper, a law, a labor union—and take its side."

    That is good advice, but I was amused at what his advice omitted. My amusement stemmed from my lengthy reading into the Kirchenkampfe. Snyder omits "churches." Obviously, churches were a major institution in the resistance against totalitarianism, although Snyder seems to omit this point. In a later section, he manages explains how Polish workers allied with atheist scholars to bring down Polish Communism without mentioning John Paul II or the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church gets one reference here when Snyder observes:

    "The one example of successful resistance to communism was the Solidarity labor movement in Poland in 1980–81: a coalition of workers and professionals, elements of the Roman Catholic Church, and secular groups."

    "Elements." As if the Primate of Poland, the Bishops of Poland and the Pope were just "elements." And this is from a history professor.

    I have to wonder about this. Is it just the case that a Yale professor lives in such a secular bubble that he edits the data to form his arguments? Or is it the case, that he wanted to stay away from the tyranny of the prior eight years? Or is he simply an urban elite entirely out of touch with the country that voted for the president? I found this to be a not very edifying example of scholarship.

    So, Snyder is strangely quiet about one kind of institution, but he is very conservative in his demand that everyone pay proper deference to the press and support it with money and loyalty.

    And here again one wonders where Snyder has been for the last sixteen years. It has come to the point where everyone knows that the mainstream press is an arm of one political party, which isn't that of the current president. Even Communist China has pointed out that media was biased in favor the loser. The press has an approval rating lower than that of a cold sore's because people have seen the press blatantly misrepresent facts. The time is long gone when the press can't be fact-checked in real time and stories that were run during the prior administration can't be found by a simple internet search and set against current stories to show the slanting and bias of press coverage.

    On the other hand, the most independent and professional reporting is often found among amateur bloggers who have real experience, and, while they may have a bias, are not pretending that they don't.

    Snyder would properly have compared the modern mainstream press to the Gleischaltung version of the press that existed in 1933 Germany if he wanted to make a fair comparison.(Given the revelation through Wiki leaks that there were media members who running their stories past the Clinton campaign, Gleischaltung is not too strong a word.)

    Here is another example:

    "17 Listen for dangerous words. Be alert to the use of the words extremism and terrorism. Be alive to the fatal notions of emergency and exception. Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary."

    How about "racist"? Or homophobe? Or Islamaphobe?

    Such things do exist, but it seems to me that Snyder is entirely unaware of how "dangerous words" are used by his tribe to stifle speech and mark people as "outcasts."

    Here is an example where Snyder goes unhinged:

    "14 Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware on a regular basis. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Tyrants seek the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have hooks."

    This may be good advice, but Snyder is injecting poison into the body politic by teaching people that they are presently at risk.

    Of course, those who are not on the left have known this for awhile. Brandon Eich was fired by Mozilla because of a progressive campaign that was manufactured on the outrage that Eich had dared to participate in politics by donating to one side of a California Initiative that was passed.

    Sadly, we are at a point where private citizens are targeted for things they say on Facebook and the people who target - on both sides - justify their mean-spirited actions by saying that their target was a bad person because the person voted this way or that or violated some piety or other.

    I was disappointed in some rules that Snyder didn't offer. Here are a few:

    1. Beware of those occasions when someone you like begins to cut away at the spirit of restraint that previously existed. Hitler might not have been able to get his Enabling Act if Kurt von Schleicher had not led the way with his own efforts to circumvent the Reichstag.Likewise, although Democrats cheered, and the media was silent, when Harry Reid exercised the nuclear option, it did set a precedent now that the Fascists control Congress. Similarly, there was loud cheering for the former president's use of executive decrees, but what precedent did unilaterally changing immigration law set for the new president?

    At various times during the former president's administration, I was put in mind of the dangerous precedents he was setting, not unlike that of Schleicher. See

    2. Beware of the Coordinated Press. The press has to be truly independent. If it becomes a lapdog for one party, it cannot fulfill its job of being a watchdog. A population that has seen it be a lapdog for eight years will probably not pay it much attention when it continues to serve the interest of the party that is out of power.

    3.Beware of Charismatic Leaders who are called the Lightworker and make vapid claims about "Hope and Change" and being able to stop the rise of the oceans.

    4. Beware of opponents of federalism and advocates of centralizations. Hitler eliminated the federal states and centralized power, such as coordinating political and economic power, such as creating a centralized health insurance system.

    Snyder is histrionic. The fomer president may not have seemed like an authoritiarian, but to those who were put to the choice of religious convictions or penalties, the former president was very authoritarian. Nonetheless, only those on the fever-swamp did not believe that the former president was not going to surrender power to his successor. The current president seems to have an authoritarian personality - some might say New Yor personality - but his policies tend away from authoritarianism. Eliminating the ACA is a pro-federalist position. Reducing the size of government is anti-authoritarian.

    Certainly, the media will be there to expose him.

    And does any sane person really think that the president will not surrender power to his successor exactly the same way that the former president gave up power?

    Snyder is doing no one any good with this paranoid fantasy.

    We survived the former president as a democracy. We will survive the current president as a democracy.

  • Andy

    If this is the response to creeping fascism in America, we are in trouble.

    (Note: for suggested alternatives see comment stream below.)

    Obviously, Hitler is bad. And some of the advice is unassailable (Contribute to good causes, etc.) But beyond that, the little essays that make up this book seem pretty messy.

    -Before Hitler comes to power, it makes sense to stand up, speak out, etc. But after, it's more about getting out or going underground. If the author really believes that Trump is Hitler and

    If this is the response to creeping fascism in America, we are in trouble.

    (Note: for suggested alternatives see comment stream below.)

    Obviously, Hitler is bad. And some of the advice is unassailable (Contribute to good causes, etc.) But beyond that, the little essays that make up this book seem pretty messy.

    -Before Hitler comes to power, it makes sense to stand up, speak out, etc. But after, it's more about getting out or going underground. If the author really believes that Trump is Hitler and that Americans have had our last free election, then much of his advice is dangerously counterproductive.

    -He says to read books, but Mein Kampf was a book, and Trump supporters love to read lots of books. So this is not a differentiating factor between Trump/Hitler and the alternatives.

    -In the first chapter he talks about the Milgram experiments. The finding there was that about 65% of people will obey evil orders for no good reason. So using this as a rationale for the lesson "Do not obey" is confusing. A more logical lesson would be "Be careful about what you order people to do."

    -There seems to be a general confusion about what applies to ordinary citizens vs. what is possible for a world leader like Churchill (Ch. 8).

    -He recommends a bunch of books, but it is hard to see these becoming popular manuals for promoting democracy. The Rebel by Camus, for example, is a lengthy philosophical discussion of why it is so hard to get people to rebel against tyranny. This brings up a question that struck me many times while reading "On Tyranny": what is the audience for this pamphlet?

    -Ch. 10/11 "Believe in truth, and Investigate" bugged me. You don't need to believe in truth. The truth is true whether you believe in it or not. Reality exists. You can know the truth. This is very difficult and nobody can do this for every issue, but you can do it for something. And if you're not willing or able to do it for anything then you can just shut up and admit ignorance and not be all fanatical about it. Because blindly trusting NPR or FOX or Clinton or Trump is still blindly trusting.

  • Julie

    On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder is a 2017 Tim Duggan Books publication.

    As a Professor of History at Yale University, Professor Snyder uses his expertise to lay out the importance of learning from the mistakes made throughout history, and to warn against a cavalier attitude towards the strength of our own democracy.

    The author lists habits we need to develop, and continually practice, in order to protect ourselves and our country, from falling prey to tyra

    On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder is a 2017 Tim Duggan Books publication.

    As a Professor of History at Yale University, Professor Snyder uses his expertise to lay out the importance of learning from the mistakes made throughout history, and to warn against a cavalier attitude towards the strength of our own democracy.

    The author lists habits we need to develop, and continually practice, in order to protect ourselves and our country, from falling prey to tyrannical regimes. He teaches us how to pick up on subtle changes, and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of tyranny and authoritarianism. He also advises us on what to do or not to do if the worst does happen.

    Naturally, the release of this book begs many people in the United States to make comparisons to our current political climate. But, the trouble isn’t simply one for America. The current trend towards nationalism will remind many of another time when “America First” was a slogan and how the isolationism the world was gripped in was the perfect set up for powerful dictators and of course, we all know how that turned out. Still, we have often believed those days are long over with, and our democracy would never again regress or weaken.

    Many have used this book to make comparisons between Trump and Hitler, which the author doesn’t discourage out of hand, but, the book was not written solely for that purpose. The book teaches that democracies can fail, and how they fail, and the lessons we should learn from those failures.

    The lessons outlined here include many habits we should form and stick to, no matter how progressive or peaceful things are in our country or with our relationships with other countries.

    I personally believe our complacency in taking for granted our democracy is safe, is a dangerous attitude to adopt.

    I didn’t always agree with everything the author suggested. I’m an extreme introvert, so I doubt I will ever force myself to 'get out there' and 'engage in small talk'. I also enjoy social media, like Goodreads, for example, and I love technologies and the internet, so again, I doubt I will ever deliberately dial back my time spent online.

    However, many of the other suggestions the author urges the reader to try, are things I already do. I don’t have cable, so mainstream media aren’t constantly infiltrating my head, which keeps those trendy catchphrases out of my vocabulary as well. I read print papers, and read lots of books, which is advice I can get behind.

    The author does offer up a few suggested fiction and nonfiction titles that tie into his philosophies, and I do intend to read a few of them.

    I believe the author offers sound advice, no matter which side of the political debate you are on. If you learn the mistakes made by failed democracies, learn your history, make yourself aware, learn to think for yourself, I believe you will have equipped yourself with enough intellect and armor to make informed choices and be prepared for the worst case scenario.

    “If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die under tyranny”

    I hope people will not view this book simply as a comparison between Trump and Hitler, because while it may be difficult not to make those parallels right now, this book is one that reminds us that ‘History doesn’t repeat, but it does instruct’. It is a book that will be important, and relevant, not just for the here and now, but for all future eras of time, as well.

    4 stars

  • Bill  Kerwin

    As Duncan Black ("Atrios" at

    ) phrased it a few days ago, “I veer from ‘haha Trump's a big dumdum’ to ‘oh shit we're all going to die.’” Is Trump a clown or an autocrat? A buffoon, or a despot-in-training?

    I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I am sure of one thing: for those worried about totalitarianism in the good ole USA, historian Timothy Snyder’s little book

    is an excellent guide to what to do and what to watch out for.

    Snyder is an excellent source for such advice, f

    As Duncan Black ("Atrios" at

    ) phrased it a few days ago, “I veer from ‘haha Trump's a big dumdum’ to ‘oh shit we're all going to die.’” Is Trump a clown or an autocrat? A buffoon, or a despot-in-training?

    I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I am sure of one thing: for those worried about totalitarianism in the good ole USA, historian Timothy Snyder’s little book

    is an excellent guide to what to do and what to watch out for.

    Snyder is an excellent source for such advice, for his major works are

    and

    . Thus he spent a good portion of his academic career cataloging the increments that lead to tyranny and the harbingers that can alert us to its coming.

    This pocket-sized 125 page book consists of twenty “lessons” Timothy Snyder believes are helpful both for observing and for preserving our republic, and also keeping democracy alive within it. Five I found most helpful were “1. Do not obey in advance” (Don’t be like Austria, anticipating Hitler’s wishes, just to get along), “2. Defend institutions” (Don’t just assume newspapers, courts, and NGO’s are strong enough to survive), “5.Remember professional ethics (if lawyers behave with honor, it will be harder for totalitarianism to take hold), “9. “Be kind of our language” (avoid cant, speak in your own voice, read books), and “14. Establish a private life” (keep off the internet, avoid “hooks” they may use to hang you.”

    There are two others worth quoting at some length. First, “6. Be wary of paramilitaries”

    Second, “13. Pracitice corporeal politics”:

    is a useful little book, both disturbing and strangely comforting. I’m laughing at Trump less since I read it, and I’m less scared of him too.

  • Trish

    Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University, has written a pamphlet reminiscent of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, written in 1776, at America’s beginning. Snyder’s pamphlet contains twenty admonitions for us to consider as we pay attention to the political environment we see right now in the United States. The first sentence of Snyder’s Prologue brings us right back to our founding fathers, the Constitution, and the democratic republic they envisioned.

    It’s a small book, the quarter-page size

    Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University, has written a pamphlet reminiscent of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, written in 1776, at America’s beginning. Snyder’s pamphlet contains twenty admonitions for us to consider as we pay attention to the political environment we see right now in the United States. The first sentence of Snyder’s Prologue brings us right back to our founding fathers, the Constitution, and the democratic republic they envisioned.

    It’s a small book, the quarter-page size running slightly more than one hundred pages. I love short books. “Tell me what you’re thinking and let me think about it,” is how I view it. However, in this case, the brevity may leave a few notions unclear. We need to be careful in reading, combing it over until our questions are clarified, calling them out and talking with others about them if not.

    There is no reason for me to deny I agree with Snyder’s take on the present administration and the henchmen that carry out the damaging policies dreamed up by our thoughtless, fearful leader. For that reason I was all set to clap through a review, stamping it with my approval. Imagine my surprise, then, to find myself slowing down and viewing what Snyder has decided to spotlight with a critical eye.

    The very first point Snyder makes caused me to back up, circle around, scratch my head until it finally dawned on me that we probably agree. What Snyder says is

    which in my parlance would be, “Do not anticipate your leader’s orders.” The example he gives is

    Snyder goes on to say that “anticipatory obedience means adapting instinctively, without reflection.” Yes, I agree that the eagerness to be agreeable can make fools of us. Even if we are in the uniformed services, Snyder argues, we have the responsibility to

    . “Be ready to say no” and stand up for our values.

    . The word patriot has been so bandied about we are no longer sure what it means any more. Snyder tries to help us think critically about this concept. In addition, he exhorts us to remain skeptical and

    and still

    . The world is changing rapidly and dangers are all around us. We must

    and do not allow words to be hijacked and used against us. We can reclaim our vocabulary and the language of reason, but it requires speech, action, dissent.

    To give us feel a measure of stability and solidarity in a political world in which we no longer have faith, Snyder suggests we

    : we created institutions to protect citizens from changes in attitudes and government. We must defend them now, when they come under attack, so that they continue to be able to protect us when needed.

    And when Snyder exhorts us to

    , he means

    We must be strong,

    , and

    . “If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die under tyranny.” When I read these words I thought of the bravery of the man in the white shirt holding grocery bags in each hand who stood in front of rolling tanks during the Tiananmen Incident in China in 1989. It wasn’t just that man who showed extraordinary bravery, but the soldier in the tank whose orders were to reach the square. He stopped, disobeying orders, and for all he knew, would bear the wrath of his superiors. That’s when we know the values hold and the country is not irreparably broken.

    #Resist

  • Elyse

    I had read Timothy Snyder before. I still remember that even though much of it was challenging to read - much of it gave me chills to. The book I'm speaking about is

    "Black Earth":The Holocaust as History and a Warning...published in 2015.

    And..... here again, Snyder is giving us a warning...and what's even more scary is some of the things he said in "Black Earth" give me more concern for those chills -- because I never thought those warnings would manifest in our country just two years later.

    T

    I had read Timothy Snyder before. I still remember that even though much of it was challenging to read - much of it gave me chills to. The book I'm speaking about is

    "Black Earth":The Holocaust as History and a Warning...published in 2015.

    And..... here again, Snyder is giving us a warning...and what's even more scary is some of the things he said in "Black Earth" give me more concern for those chills -- because I never thought those warnings would manifest in our country just two years later.

    This is an incredible worth reading quick read -it's fricken sad it had to be written....

    Given out current political situation- what stands out for me after reading this is....

    If we survive as a democracy it will be going against history!

    A small tidbit of interest that caught my eye in this book - was the section about politicians and television-- It was a reality wake up remember of how we have taken the collective trance to be normal.

    "More then half a century ago, the classic novels of totalitarianism warned of the domination of screens, the suppression of books, the narrowing of vocabularies, and the associated difficulties of thought."

    Snyder goes on to mention several worthy books to read....Rat Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, George Orwell's 1984, Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, .....

    a few others...

    And one I have not read -- that my goodness -- I actually now see reason to read it:

    Snyder says....."One novel known by millions of young Americans that offers an account of tyranny and resistance is J.K. Rowling' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow.

    If you and your friends or your children did not read it that way the first time, then it bears reading again".

    Twenty - very common sense lessons are in this small book - it's only $3.99 on Kindle!

    Highly worth readers time to read it!!!

  • David

    This is a marvelous little book about how to avoid allowing one's homeland to sink into tyranny. The book really does contain twenty short lessons, practical ways to recognize tyranny and ways to fight it. This book was written after Donald Trump was elected president. Timothy Snyder, a celebrated historian, shows how Trump's ascendancy is on a slippery slope toward fascism. Snyder is an expert on the Holocaust, and he shows how the administration's policies are increasingly on a parallel course

    This is a marvelous little book about how to avoid allowing one's homeland to sink into tyranny. The book really does contain twenty short lessons, practical ways to recognize tyranny and ways to fight it. This book was written after Donald Trump was elected president. Timothy Snyder, a celebrated historian, shows how Trump's ascendancy is on a slippery slope toward fascism. Snyder is an expert on the Holocaust, and he shows how the administration's policies are increasingly on a parallel course to that of the early Nazi regime.

    Tyrannies have often begun with lawful elections. For example, both Hitler and Putin were elected lawfully in their respective countries. But then, after such an election, nobody realizes that it was the LAST lawful election to be held; sufficient political power is gained to ensure that future elections will be scams, or even skipped altogether.

    Snyder writes that history does not repeat itself, but that we can use history to learn lessons for the future. Our democracies of today are no better than those of pre-war Europe. But, with our knowledge of the rise of fascism, we should be better prepared to prevent its rise in the future.

    What are some of Snyder's lessons? Beware of loyalty slogans and stickers. Make eye contact and small talk with strangers (harder and harder these days, with the popularity of so-called social media). Join institutions, to help protect them--they don't protect themselves. Avoid vapid catch-phrases and party-line slogans. Expose falsehoods when you see them. Don't voluntarily do what you think non-democratic leaders would like you to do. And, very ominously, make sure that everyone in your family has an up-to-date passport.

    This book is short, concise, and very practical. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves democratic traditions.

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