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Publisher's Summary

With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy was thought to be absolute. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. But we now know this to be premature. Authoritarianism first returned in Russia, as Putin developed a political system dedicated solely to the consolidation and exercise of power. In the last six years, it has creeped from east to west as nationalism inflames Europe, abetted by Russian propaganda and cyberwarfare. While countries like Poland and Hungary have made hard turns toward authoritarianism, the electoral upsets of 2016 revealed the citizens of the US and UK in revolt against their countries' longstanding policies and values.

But this threat to the West also presents the opportunity to better understand the pillars of our own political order. In this forceful and unsparing work of contemporary history, Snyder goes beyond the headlines to expose the true nature of the threat to democracy. By showcasing the stark choices before us - between equality or oligarchy, individuality or totality, truth and falsehood - Snyder restores our understanding of the basis of our way of life, offering a way forward in a time of terrible uncertainty.

©2018 Timothy Snyder (P)2018 Random House Audio

What members say

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A Key Understanding of Modern Politics

Would you consider the audio edition of The Road to Unfreedom to be better than the print version?

The Road to Unfreedom is a dense text, delving with deliberate action into history, philosophy, and politics. Listening can be mentally less taxing than reading.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The book gives a comprehensive understanding of political narratives, and which ones are enticing but hollow and which ones aren't sexy but enrich nations and their citizens. It made me reconsider many of my political beliefs.

Which scene was your favorite?

The division of Identity Politics vs. Prosperity Politics made me rethink how I vote.

If you could give The Road to Unfreedom a new subtitle, what would it be?

The War Between Politicians Who Talk About Cultural Identity, Vs. Politicians Who Say What Can Be Done For Those They Represent

Any additional comments?

A must-read for those who wish to be informed about modern politics.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Huge Disappointment

Being a big fan of Timothy Snyder’s book Bloodlands and someone who enjoys studying Russia, I really looked forward to listening to The Road to Unfreedom. I could hardly get through his many premises in the introduction including his belief that President Trump colluded with the Russians. I tried to listen to the first chapter to hear another point of view, but simply couldn’t stomach his many conjectures that he asserted as fact, rather than theory. Depending on ones political bent, this is a love it or hate it book. I’m afraid I fall into the latter category. Two thumbs down.

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Hatchet Job, Not a History

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Greetings,So, Timothy Snyder's book, "The Road to Unfreedom" is a not a history. It is a political hatchet job. There are only two possibilities: either Donald Trump will be impeached and removed from office or otherwise forced to resign, or the book is essentially bull****. I will not be reading another book by this author.PSI wrote a "one star" review for Amazon for the physical book and it looks like they refused to post. I have never had that happen before. I have been reviewing books for a long time. It is very odd and I wonder if this has anything to do with the content of the book and the review.

What was most disappointing about Timothy Snyder’s story?

It is a hatchet job pretending to be a history.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Dismay.

Any additional comments?

There is a fair amount of interesting material in the book, but the closing sections of the book are so partisan and obviously distorted that I am unwilling to take any of Snyder's claims seriously unless they are already known to me, or I do further reading on the subject. Every rumor about Trump is reported as fact, and an entire narrative of Trump's rise is invented by the author with the unbelievable assumption that Trump is and has always been understood to be a failed businessman in Russia who was simply propped up to be used for political purposes at a later date. "Trump the successful businessman" is said to be a Russian fiction that Putin and his buddies invented so that they could exploit Trump and the US. The book is a left wing pipe dream.

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Fascinating Exploration of Current Events

Anyone who has been trying to make sense of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 2016 U.S. elections, and Russian actions more generally will likely find this of interest. It describes the ideological inspiration behind Putin and his cronies and their reasoning for interfering in other countries. By combining recent history, current events, and the philosophies of several important ideological figures with his own observations from long study of Europe, Timothy Snyder has done the best job so far of making sense of these events.

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Most Important and Gripping Book I Have Ever Read

If you think that America's future can only be as great as it's past then think again but only after you've read Snyder's book "The Road to Unfreedom". Because I read it, almost without stopping, I finally understand the real reason for this president's constant lying. He does not lie because he can't help himself instead he lies to help himself and his fellow oligarchs to our fortunes. Yet the more important reason to read the book is to understand what is happening to your freedom so that you will be equipped to choose the path away from unfreedom and toward the freedom our forefathers intended.

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A must-read

A stunning, chilling book by one of our greatest American minds. Required reading for anyone who feels overwhelmed by political events of the past decade. It’s like putting on a pair of glasses, and suddenly the chaotic world surrounding us becomes clear...

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Scary, insightful and important

I think this book came out at a vital time. As Snyder makes clear toward the end of this book, we stand at the crossroads of two very different futures with totalitarianism in one direction and hard-won self-government down the other. Ignorance of the facts is no excuse when no one is withholding them from you.

This is the second book I've read of Snyder's and I think he may be one of the most knowledgeable historians of our age. Would— and already have— recommend this book to anyone.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cate
  • Hudson, NY United States
  • 04-10-18

A critical book for our time

To understand how our democracy has been gravely wounded and how to heal. MUST READ.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rossum
  • São Paulo, SP, Brazil
  • 04-10-18

Virtues are not obsolete!

A necessary book for the times we're living. Professor Timothy Snyder exposes with more detail the facts about contemporary totalitarianism, and his understanding of it. A nice solidification of the work he has already been doing with other books and videos.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful