Brett Williams's Reviews > On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
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Comparisons between historical tyrannies and America’s brewing

I found this very short book mildly informative (about 14,000 words, 30 pages of regular text, stretched to 126 pages in its pocket format). The author draws parallels between tyrannies of the past and the one Trump and his cult seek to create in the US today. That flavor is established on the first page when the authors writes, the Founders “contemplated the descent of ancient democracies and republics into oligarchy and empire. As they knew, Aristotle warned that inequality brought instability, while Plato believed that demagogues exploited free speech to install themselves as tyrants.” Given the title, parallels are drawn from Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. Occasionally I first assumed the author was listing acts of these men, only to find it was Trump. External validation proves him right. Some sections are more penetrating than others: “If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis on which to do so.” Clearly what the tyrants did, and Trump hopes to do. Compared with, “Make an effort to separate yourself from the internet. Read books.” Such common sense might be a healthy prescription for the reality TV crowd, but the Amazon / Goodreads crowd won’t be that impressed.
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Reading Progress

December 1, 2017 – Started Reading
December 1, 2017 – Shelved
December 6, 2017 – Finished Reading

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