• Strongmen

  • Mussolini to the Present
  • By: Ruth Ben-Ghiat
  • Narrated by: Chloe Cannon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (325 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the expert on the "strongman" playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin. In Strongmen, she lays bare the blueprint these leaders have followed over the past 100 years, and empowers us to recognize, resist, and prevent their disastrous rule in the future. 

For ours is the age of authoritarian rulers: self-proclaimed saviors of the nation who evade accountability while robbing their people of truth, treasure, and the protections of democracy. They promise law and order, then legitimize lawbreaking by financial, sexual, and other predators. They use propaganda, corruption, and violence to stay in power. 

Vladimir Putin and Mobutu Sese Seko's kleptocracies, Benito Mussolini and Muammar Gaddafi's systems of sexual exploitation, and Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump's relentless misinformation: all show how authoritarian rule, far from ensuring stability, is marked by destructive chaos. 

Recounting the acts of solidarity and dignity that have undone strongmen over the past 100 years, Ben-Ghiat makes vividly clear that only by seeing the strongman for what he is - and by valuing one another as he is unable to do - can we stop him, now and in the future.

©2020 Ruth Ben-Ghiat (P)2020 Kalorama

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  • Overall
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Fascism expert talks fascism

Prof. Ben-Ghiat is a leading fascism academic expert who connects the dots linking authoritarianisms of the 20th century through to Trump. Terrifyingly relevant even after his 2020 loss as we try to figure out what went wrong and what needs to be repaired in our democracy. I wish she would have narrated herself because she has videos on her Twitter that were interesting. I always enjoy hearing the authors read in their own cadence and emphasis, but the narrator here is fine.

16 people found this helpful

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great book but ...

great book but Chloe Cannon should not read books to others. I don't know what that speech impediment is called? it's something like vocal fry the way she ends everything she says. nearly unlistenable. that's really too bad

11 people found this helpful

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really hits home in the era of Trump

Narrator is a bit mechanical but the history is riveting in the context of America's democratic backsliding.

7 people found this helpful

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a must read

This book came to me by way of hearing an interview with the author on PBS Ppen Mind. I was struck by her knowledge on this subject and what next to.predict regarding this current President and his followers. I quickly researched and purchaesed this book and it does not dissappoint. For those who want a global view of arhoritarian leaders and wish tomundersta.d.what can be done to diminish their power, thenis a text on the subject.

6 people found this helpful

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biased story

The author's overwhelming bias against Donald Trump adversely effected her credibility towards the other "Strongmen" she wrote about. I was very disappointed with this book

6 people found this helpful

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Now

It is a very good treatise on what is going on the danger of Trump

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent, well researched book. Should be required reading for civics and political science courses.

The Strongmen fit similar personality types and use the same tactics to control the masses. We didn’t think we would see a President exercise these dictatorial tendencies and we are lucky the guardrails of democracy held during the Trump Administration. Next time we might not be as lucky which is why I highly recommend this book to all citizens.

3 people found this helpful

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Fascinating through lines

Well researched, including interviews with victims. These dictators must be on a chat group or something because they seem to borrow from each other. But this is good because we can learn from previous scenarios. Book was an informative but easy listen. Well done!

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history repeating itself all over again

horrifying that we as humans learn nothing. perhaps it says more that there are many people who seem to want an authoritarian strong man leader to take care of them. or that many like the adjacent power that they then feel they can't live without. we need to elect leaders who will defend democracy and be prepared to do what's right even if that costs then personal power and position. character counts

2 people found this helpful

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Hard to hear

Comparisons between autocratic leaders such as Mussolini, Hitler, Putin and Trump are almost too scary to hear.

1 person found this helpful