On Tyranny

On Tyranny

Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century

Book - 2017
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StoicBookaholic
Nov 25, 2020

I am wondering why such an important topic is delivered in the form of tiniest book size ever? Just to be published and go “under the radar”? Anyhow, you need to start with this one and continue broadening your views with many others.... The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt for example....

Lesson number one: Do not obey in advance (anticipatory obedience is a political tragedy)
Lesson number five: Remember professional ethics (do not confuse ethics with the emotions of the moment)
Lesson number eight: Stand out (It’s easy to follow along...)
Lesson number nine: Be kind to our language (Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does....)
Lesson number seventeen: Listen for dangerous words (...by manufacturing a general conviction that the present moment is exceptional, and then transforming that state of exception into a permanent emergency....)

p
Peaches_31
Oct 13, 2020

Excellent book about what is happening in America, and the similarities of this and previious problems and times in other countries. SHould really make you stop and think. Would have been good to read the last 4 years, but better late than never.

j
j2kansascity
Jul 30, 2020

Fantastic. A must-read before the next election.

f
FloraWest
Jul 26, 2020

The best time to read this was about 3 years ago but the second best time is right now. Succinct and accessible summation by historian (specializing in Central and Eastern Europe) of the steps we are taking (and the many we have taken) towards fascism. And what you can do to help stop it.

1
11lbh09
Jul 26, 2020

Succinct thoughts on how to recognize and resist ideas, words, and actions that threaten our democracy. Numerous references to patterns and practices of totalitarianism in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and other countries. The author is a chaired professor in history at Yale University. I now have my own copy of this book at my bedside. I am rereading a short excerpt each day, along with a selection from my book(s) of daily devotions.

j
janetletty
Feb 23, 2020

Rachael interview

KatieD_KCMO Jan 06, 2020

These are lessons from the 20th century, not comparisons based on political ideology. The U.S. is not perfect, it never was and never will be, we have to be vigilant. "Does the history of tyranny apply to the United States? Certainly the early Americans who spoke of 'eternal vigilance' would have thought so. The logic of the system they devised was to mitigate the consequences of our real imperfections, not to celebrate our imaginary perfection."

I believe this book is more relevant now, in January 2020, than ever. I know some are of the opinion that it is an overreaction to compare our current nationalist Western leaders to Hitler, but I think what Snyder is trying to show us is how quickly, what we assume to be a perfect and ever-lasting democracy, can devolve into an authoritarian led government and that we shouldn't take anything for granted.

These are lessons from the 20th century, not comparisons based on political ideology. The argument that these lessons are irrelevant because China, North Korea, or Russia are worse, is a red herring. The point is these countries are worse off because they failed to learn lessons from our collective past. It can happen there and it did. It can happen here, in the US, and we shouldn't ignore the warning signs. The U.S. is not perfect, it never was and never will be, we have to be vigilant. "Does the history of tyranny apply to the United States? Certainly the early Americans who spoke of 'eternal vigilance' would have thought so. The logic of the system they devised was to mitigate the consequences of our real imperfections, not to celebrate our imaginary perfection."

AndreaG_KCMO Jan 06, 2020

A quick, pamphlet-style read with abundant historical examples and supplemental essays.

j
jessicamay21
Nov 14, 2019

I have to say that I was disappointed by this book after reading all of the 5 star reviews.

Timothy Snyder is obviously a very intelligent man, but it is also very obvious as to how much his political ideology and the media influence his thought and this book.

He did make a few good points (which is why he got the extra half of a star), but most of it was just making references to horrors of Nazi Germany and then comparing them to Trump's campaign rhetoric.
For example: [Pertaining to speaking the truth] "The Second mode is shamanistic incantation. As Klemperer noted, the fascist style depends upon 'endless repetition' designed to make the fictional plausible and the criminal desirable. the systematic use of nicknames such as 'Lyin' Ted' and Crooked Hillary' displaces certain character traits that might more appropriately have been affixed to the president himself." (pg. 66)

The amount of times that he refers to Trump as Hitler is ridiculous. Conflating Trump's mean remarks and lack of civil discourse to Hitler's actual regime is abhorrent and reduces the actual atrocities' severity by doing so.

Do you all want to know how to know that we're all still free? How we're not currently living under "tyrant Trump"? It's because we're all still having political opposition (and a lot of it) from both sides. Trump isn't ordering journalists to be killed or is making them disappear for their disagreement and criticism.

If you want to read a book on actual tyranny and not what is effectively a "Trump is Hitler" article, then please read and learn about the Soviet Union, North Korea, China, and any other Communistic/Socialistic regime. Heck, if you want to SEE what their doing, just look at what the Chinese government is currently doing to the protesters in Hong Kong right now.

w
winston16
Oct 28, 2019

This small book packs a big punch. The author, a History professor, cites the dangers of complacency regarding our democratic system by recounting the lessons from recent history, notably Nazism, to illustrate what can corrode freedom from the inside. A much needed wake up call for the national nightmare we are living in now. Read this book. We can only hope it's not to late for American to change its course.

d
DJelinske
Sep 29, 2019

Can I read this book on my Kindle if I download this version?

1
1aa
Jul 30, 2019

A terrific and abundantly quotable essay that interprets and uses history to educate civic virtues. There are so many quotable items of wisdom and practicality that its useless to quote them: one is better off just re-reading. There were several times that he got too caught up in the anti-Trump hysteria.

s
Songwriter2898
Jul 15, 2019

This book presents an excellent overview of the mentality of dictators, fascist leaders and their strategies for political manipulation throughout world history, as it relates to today in the U.S..
I never could have imagined fascism entering the United States. We're a democracy, right?
Yet, through clear warning signals, supported by historical facts, the process of how fascism comes knocking on a nation's door, is explained clearly and concisely, at a time when so much of what we see is unclear, unsettling and confusing, by design. It also helped to understand how we, as a nation, can naively, miss the danger signs, until it's too late.

20 Lessons from the Twentieth Century is a "How-to-Survive" book in the truest sense of the word.

A quick, worthwhile and valuable read.

j
johnulee
Jun 19, 2019

Delivers as promised, short, concise and to the point... a primer on the lessons that history has blatantly laid bare as to how to stay out of the s**t as we try to move forward... must read for ANY voter (especially those who haven't voted and those who lean to the right)

v
voisjoe1_0
May 29, 2019

Mid to late 20th century students intensively learned about the tyranny of 20th century autocrats of Europe (the Fascists and Communists dictatorships of Germany, Italy, and Russia especially, but also the dimwitted monarchs such as the Czars, Austro-Hungarians, etc.) that led the world into two disastrous world wars. These events are no longer taught to today's youth so they go about not voting or voting for such dimwits like Trump, La Penn, etc. because they don't have any knowledge about what kind of disastrous world towards which this type of ignorance will lead us. Hopefully, enough of today's millennials will read this and wake up in time for the 2020 election.

b
Boych2018
Feb 18, 2019

Good advice for anyone living in a democracy and who is interested in keeping it that way. I've rated it a four star read not five because the author appears to suffer from TDS and therefore hasn't followed his own suggestions.

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newdog
Jan 21, 2019

I agree with Rachel Maddow, this is a must read for those who care about what is happening to our country!

a
AQUILEA777
Dec 12, 2018

In April, 2017, author Snyder declared that Trump would stage a coup to overthrow democracy in less than a year. See Wikipedia and first comment here, posted April 2, 2017, by Trump-hater "naturalist". So much for Snyder's truthfulness and good sense. Any kind of foolishness is accepted and admired at Yale and the among the Trump-hating faithful here.

b
BlueHippo
Dec 11, 2018

Should be required reading for everyone-especially high school and college students. Too bad the people who most need to read it probably won’t. These are the same people who have no understanding of or interest in history and who think that politics and elections don’t matter to them. By the time they realize they DO matter, it will be too late.

r
richibi
Nov 07, 2018

the 20 Commandments of Democracy, if you're at all interested in your political future

a
andymacmac
Oct 31, 2018

'On Tyranny' is an excellent book. It is something we should all read to help us navigate the stormy waters of the political climate that we find ourselves in at present. By paying attention, we may be able to avoid the mistakes of the past and protect ourselves from falling into the traps that history tells us are so dangerous that they could destroy our value systems and take away our freedom.

b
BookEMonster
Sep 17, 2018

This is a great book, and I wish it was required reading. Not just in this country, but everywhere. Some of it gets a little abstract, and I wish the writing was a little more direct, and less academic, but it is an excellent resource in guarding against tyranny, and a great handbook when one is living under tyranny.

d
dirtbag
Jun 13, 2018

I think Shamas has missed the point of this book. This book is a short, readable warning for the average Joe to watch out for signs that tyranny is taking over their societies and government systems. People who can't get past the view that their own little segment of society is the only important segment are going to be so busy navel gazing that they will miss all of those signs.

squib Jun 10, 2018

short, to the point, timely, necessary. Check it out, read it, remember it, share it.


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