On Tyranny

On Tyranny

Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century

Book - 2017
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"The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. We are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience."-- Amazon.com
Publisher: New York :, Tim Duggan Books,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780804190114
Characteristics: 126 pages ; 16 cm


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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.

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.

Sep 29, 2019

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

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

Jan 21, 2019

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

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.

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Apr 18, 2018

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.

Apr 18, 2018

Modern tyranny is terror management. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events in order to consolidate power. The sudden disaster that requires the end of checks and balances, the dissolution of opposition parties, the suspension of freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Do not fall for it.

Apr 18, 2018

People who assure you that you can only gain security at the price of liberty usually want to deny you both.

Apr 18, 2018

Our appetite for the secret, thought [political writer Hannah] Arendt, is dangerously political. Totalitarianism removes the difference between private and public not just to make individuals unfree, but also to draw the whole society away from normal politics and toward conspiracy theories. Rather than defining facts or generating interpretations, we are seduced by the notion of hidden realities and dark conspiracies that explain everything.

Apr 18, 2018

Protest can be organized through social media, but nothing is real that does not end on the streets. If tyrants feel no consequences for their actions in the three-dimensional world, nothing will change.

Apr 18, 2018

Post-truth is pre-fascism.

Apr 18, 2018

"Professions can create forms of ethical conversation that are impossible between a lonely individual and a distant government. [...] Professional ethics must guide us precisely when we are told that the situation is exceptional. Then there is no such thing as 'just following orders'."

Jul 21, 2017

The mistake is to assume that rulers who come to power through institutions cannot change or destroy those very institutions.


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MichaelECasey Apr 25, 2017

MichaelECasey thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Jul 21, 2017

In On Tyranny, Yale History professor Timothy Snyder offers twenty principles for resisting authoritarian government, drawing cautionary examples from twentieth century European history. It grew out of a Facebook post Snyder made in the aftermath of America’s 2016 election. In it, he attempts to bring his wide knowledge of European history, and the collapse of democracies, to bear on the current political moment.


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