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Publisher's Summary

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 20th 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.

©2017 Timothy Snyder (P)2017 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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Required reading

Mr. Snyder presents a succinct guide to recognizing the signs of tyrannical government and acting to counter its influences. This work is unfortunately now required reading for all citizens that hope to continue to live in a functioning democratic society.

The book lays out, using examples drawn especially from Central and Eastern European history, the tactics that allowed and then fueled the rise of tyrannical regimes. In concrete steps, the author demonstrates how our predecessors failed to stop or succeeded in prevent dictatorial states from consolidating power. It was easy to listen to and left this writer feeling empowered to act!

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Important read/listen

The author is a little monotone so be sure you have no distractions around you when listening. I couldn't listen while driving either and found walking to be the best. The meaning in his words and ideas are powerful, terrifying, and utterly important to understand. Please read or listen to this book!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Must Read

A critical review of our current situation juxtaposed with history of tyranny. We ignore it at our peril.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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A haiku of history

Timothy Snyder's book is one of the most extraordinary works I have ever encountered. Full of passion, poetry, and--above all--clear thinking--it makes the strongest possible case for understanding history as a means of interpreting and addressing the disordered world of now.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Thoughtful actions for our current political troubles

An excellent book. All citizens everywhere should read it and think about how we all are responsible for the current and future situations of our countries. It points out important things we can learn from the rise of fascism and nazism in the past and how we can act now to try to prevent them from taking hold now and doing away with our democracy. Very worth reading, thinking about, discussing and acting on.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Looking for clues to Why Trump? This is the answer.

I can't imagine a more concise, readable, and important history lesson documenting a century of how nationalist governments came to power. The book culminates in the Putin connection and makes a powerful case for engagement and action. The under two hours it takes to read this offers critical clarity regarding how we got here and how to navigate the here and now.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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required reading in today's world.

When debating how to move forward, it's important to remember the lessons of history. Let's put the work in.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Sound

I'm a AP history and government teacher, and, while I am not claiming to be erudite, I know more than the average bear. Mr. Snyder'd political persuasion is pronounced, but the vast most of his historical facts are sound. My thought is Trump is more of an unwitting than the author credits him. I think totalitarianism is man's natural tendency.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Lest We Forget

Note: Hardcore Trump supporters, this one isn't for you. Move along.

I first became interested in this book after watching an interview with the author, Yale History Professor, Timothy Snyder. Professor Snyder explained that in drafting the U.S. Constitution, the founding fathers attempted to incorporate all the lessons of their century into the process; our author is trying a similar process with this centurys lessons on tyranny.

This book reads like a well researched political leaflet on the rise of fascism in the 20th Century, spanning multiple countries. If I had to compare this book to anything, I'd pick Thomas Paine's Common Sense as a prime example. It's a very short read, but I'd say it's worth picking up. Plus, it's read by the author so you get to feel like you are attending Yale. If you are at all interested, I'd say check it out!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Written Well, But For A Narrow Audience

I really appreciated the stories and examples that were given in this book to demonstrate the dangers that we face today, and how the past influences our future, but as a moderate person, I couldn't recommend this book to friends that did vote for the current president, as they would likely feel demeaned. While I understand that this book was not written for those folks, I feel like the message is needed on that side of the political spectrum as well, but perhaps written in a less polarizing tone. Overall a great listen, and I really am grateful for the suggestions and stories.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful