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Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER •

Why is democracy so threatened in America and around the world? And what can we do about it? A former White House aide and close confidant to President Barack Obama - and the author of The World as It Is - travels the globe in a deeply personal, beautifully observed quest for answers.

In 2017, as Ben Rhodes was helping Barack Obama begin his next chapter, the legacy they had worked to build for eight years was being taken apart. To understand what was happening in America, Rhodes decided to look outward. Over the next three years, he traveled to dozens of countries, meeting with politicians, activists, and dissidents confronting the same nationalism and authoritarianism that was tearing America apart. Along the way, a Russian opposition leader he spoke with was poisoned, the Hong Kong protesters he came to know saw their movement snuffed out, and America itself reached the precipice of losing democracy before giving itself a second chance.

Part memoir and part reportage, After the Fall is a hugely ambitious and essential work of discovery. In his travels, Rhodes comes to realize how much America’s fingerprints are on a world we helped to shape, through our post-Cold War embrace of unbridled capitalism and our post-9/11 nationalism and militarism; our mania for technology and social media; and the racism that fueled the backlash to America’s first Black president. At the same time, Rhodes learns from the stories of a diverse set of characters - from Barack Obama himself to Cuban rebels to a rising generation of international leaders - that looking squarely at where America has gone wrong makes clear how essential it is to fight for what America is supposed to be, for our own country and the entire world.

©2021 Ben Rhodes (P)2021 Random House Audio

What listeners say about After the Fall

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    5 out of 5 stars

A must read, won’t regret it!!

Former Deputy NSA and senior staffer to Obama gives an honest account of some of the most important trends facing our world today. He gives a voice to important oppositionist, and Subjugated voices, and tells us their stories. If you care about the next century, read this book.

Also Ben Rhodes has an amazing podcast, Pod Save the World, and this book gives off the same essence.

16 people found this helpful

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  • 06-02-21

Incredibly intelligent and insightful book!

After following Ben Rhodes for years, I was delighted to see this book come out. His insight and years of experience shine through his wonderfully intelligent and fascinating writing.

11 people found this helpful

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Insightful and far-ranging

Mr. Rhodes provides insights on the most current political questions of the moment from an insider’s well-reasoned viewpoint. I especially appreciated that the author narrated. I’ve seen/heard Mr. Rhodes often so having someone else narrate his first book on audible was disappointing. Not one presents a book like the author! I recommend this engrossing story of interviews with people trying to do the “right thing” for their countries by shining a light on corruption.

7 people found this helpful

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A must read

This is a must for anyone trying to make sense of the increasing threats to democracy in America. Put in a global context, Rhodes speaks to activists in Hungary, Russia, and Hong Kong about how authoritarianism rose in their own countries and the tools they have been using to fight it. He explores how decisions in the United States since the fall of the Berlin Wall, including unchecked capitalism, our response to 9/11 and unregulated social media platforms, paved the way for a rise in authoritarian rule around the world. Woven throughout with his own experiences, including the eight years he served as Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor, Rhodes tells an engaging story. I found the context and insights he shares enlightening. I especially recommend the audio version to people used to listening to him on Pod Save the World, or really to anyone who enjoys listening to nonfiction/memoir on audio.

6 people found this helpful

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A book for to the Pod people

I don't usually write reviews, but since the author confessed he reads them to understand whether people enjoy his book, here I am.
Listening to Ben reading his book is a pleasure and a treat for geopolitics fanatics such as myself. I've always loved him and Tommy in Pod Save the World, and this book really shows how passionate Ben is about progressive ideas all over the world.
Greetings from Italy Ben, you did a great job!

5 people found this helpful

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Beautifully Written. Touching and Important

While the theme of the novel is often dark, it is written beautifully and Rhodes has really hit his stride. For those who are fighting for democracy, it is an important read. Enjoy

5 people found this helpful

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After the Fall

Thank you for writing a book that covers the years of Iraqi war and into the fall of electing trump. It makes more sense after listening to your book.

4 people found this helpful

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fantastic book!!

This is a book that anchors reality for a ship lost in the fog. I highly recommend it!!

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Excellent in every way.

Do yourself a favor and get this book.
Beautifully written and painfully accurate.
We can get on the road and travel to great places once we look in the rear view mirror and properly examine where we’ve been.
A wonderfully told story that every American can learn from.

3 people found this helpful

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An important book

In beautiful prose Ben has written a very important book that is illuminating, sad and powerful. Like the author, I’ve been left shaken by not only the Trump administration, but the alarming trend around the world toward nationalism and authoritarianism. I so appreciate his exploration of this dark path by way of talking to freedom activists in Hungary, Russian and Hong Kong. That technique is a very effective way to highlight the problem and to show how the United States contributed to the rise through pursuing the invasion of Iraq and causing the 2008 financial crisis.
Ben mirrors my own feelings of anger and sadness about where we find ourselves, and he’s clearheaded that those of us who want our country to remain a democratic one are going to have to work hard to save it. This book really impacted me and I truly appreciate Ben putting his thoughts in print.

1 person found this helpful