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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the…

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)

by Timothy Snyder

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9364713,644 (4.21)118
  1. 00
    Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder (2wonderY)
    2wonderY: On Tyranny is a short synopsis of the much more extensive and scholarly conclusions recorded in Black Earth.
  2. 01
    The King's Bastard by Rowena Cory Daniells (Sandwich76)
    Sandwich76: A fantasy novel about the slippery slope into tyranny.

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» See also 118 mentions

English (45)  Dutch (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
If you are concerned about the state of democracy in America (and the world) today, this book will scare the daylights out of you. This small volume draws lessons from history on how tyrannies develop from democracies. A democracy can be hijacked by demagogues - all they need is a permanent state of emergency, real or manufactured. Snyder takes us down on the memory lane of how Hitler came to power, and how various Eastern Europen regimes came to power via democratic elections.
"Some of the Czechs and Slovaks who voted for the Czehoslovak Communist Party in 1946 probably realized that they were voting for the end of democracy, but most assumed they would have another chance."

The scariest parts for me were about how the distortion of truth was essential in fascist and communist propaganda; and how unquestioned obedience is mostly freely given.

Snyder also offers us advice - my main takeaways are: stick to your values and principles, even if your leader does not; be critical of your news sources and do not disseminate misinformation; and be active in your community. Mostly - think for yourself.

As a book, this is short, organized in 20 tiny chapters. It is a good read, but I feel it would be more powerful if there were less (or no) references to current politics. Also, the epilogue is total garbage. Overall, I recommend it to everyone - just skip the epilogue. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
Un libro corto pero intenso.
Repaso de como una democracia puede muy facilmente convertirse en un regimen autoritario.
Y una lista de actitudes y actividades para luchar contra esa transformacion tan pronto como sea posible.

Una vez el poder autoritario se ha consolidado es muy dificil y doloroso eliminarlo. Lo mejor es luchar por la libertad cuando aun la tienes.

Siendo tan corto, lo recomiendo a cualquier persona. La lista de 20 puntos se puede encontrar en internet, el libro los explica en mas detalle. ( )
  trusmis | Sep 28, 2018 |
This is a must read, a very quick read.....but one designed to make you think. And it does. Fascinating.....scarey.......and thought provoking book about the politics of politics, as it is today. Very stimulating. ( )
  over.the.edge | Sep 16, 2018 |
20 short essays all alluding to our inept current president. Mildly obtuse, but generally on target. ( )
  untraveller | Sep 3, 2018 |
ON TYRANNY forwards many positive words to stem the rise of tyranny in America, yet it does not address the fact that our democracy was founded on tyranny to million of stolen and enslaved African people.

Other concerns to address:

Yes, I have contacted my liberal U.S. Senator and Representative and sent a message to The United Nations, but why are people STILL starving in Yemen?

How could The World WATCH that little girl die? Why didn't the photographer feed her?

How exactly can we stop another Biafra? Malala will likely have answers.

Even if trump was impeached, that would leave equally evil McConnell or Ryan or ???

Even if the Democrats sub The House, hasn't the ONE PARTY bankrupted us to Russia and/or China?

# 8 STAND OUT. To me, this is the strongest statement and one which needs more of a blueprint for the current state of disaster at the Mexican border.

All of our hard-earned taxes are being totally wasted to support troops which never should have been sent.
How do we Stand Up and Out to this?


We can do this, but what if The Truth is that the Libertarians, Greens, Etceteras, and Republicans will again outvote us?

The author has also left us with No CALL FOR ACTION =
what is The Plan when the Impossible is already happening?

Where are Links to a United Movement to Save Our Democracy.

What is finally missing is a Call to Action that goes beyond his ideas into a concrete sequential Plan of Action.

Link to websites which promise Unity in a quest for change would be a start.


1. A united movement to place all our Income Taxes safely into an interest bearing Escrow Fund.
We will thus cease to support Tyranny.

2. Generate a daily updated online listing of all companies, corporations, and products which
send money to the people who are financing this government. Then, organize a systematic boycott.

3. ???? More ideas...

More ideas are needed NOW because The United Nations and The United States of America
are AGAIN refusing to act while the leaders and people of Myanmar torture and murder the Rohingya People.

Reading The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes, Half of a Yellow Sun by C. Adichie, and THERE WAS A COUNTRY by Chinua Achebe
brings tyranny a fuller voice. ( )
  m.belljackson | Aug 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
As social and political winds change, librarians can find themselves in a precarious position depending on the nature of this change. Professional librarians adhere, at least in theory, to the ALA Code of Ethics—a document that outlines our general philosophies on access and censorship with regard to library users. While these guidelines are general, they provide a reasonable framework for handling challenges we are likely to face in the normal service of our jobs. At politically fraught times, however, these guidelines serve as a critical backbone for the ethical practice of our profession. As an example, the passing of the wide-sweeping Patriot Act following the September 11 terrorist attacks created direct practical and ethical dilemmas for librarians across the county by requiring compliance with investigators’ requests for protected documents such as patron borrowing records [Full text of review available through C&RL]
Snyder knows this subject cold...

For such a small book, Snyder invests “On Tyranny” with considerable heft...

Of course, just as I was pondering whether “On Tyranny” exaggerates, Trump tweeted that the press is the enemy of the American people. That sounds awfully pre-fascist to me. So approach this short book the same way you would a medical pamphlet warning about an infectious disease. Read it carefully and be on the lookout for symptoms.

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Timothy Snyderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eklöf, MargaretaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paassen, Catalien vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In politics, being deceived is no excuse. -- Leszek Kolakowski
First words
History does not repeat, but it does instruct.
A party emboldened by a favorable election result or motivated by ideology, or both, might change the system from within.
We need paper ballots, because they cannot be tampered with remotely and can always be recounted.
For us, the lesson is that or natural fear and grief must not enable the destruction of our institutions. Courage does not mean not fearing, or not grieving. It does mean recognizing and resisting terror management right away, from the moment of the attack, precisely when it seems most difficult to do so.
Make sure you and your family have passports.
A nationalist will say that "it can't happen here," which is the first step toward a disaster. A patriot says that it could happen here, but that we will stop it.
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Book description
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 twentieth 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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0804190119, Paperback)

"We are rapidly ripening for fascism. This American writer leaves us with no illusions about ourselves." --Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

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 twentieth 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 19 Feb 2017 11:32:24 -0500)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In previous books, Holocaust historian Timothy Snyder dissected the events and values that enabled the rise of Hitler and Stalin and the execution of their catastrophic policies. With Twenty Lessons, Snyder draws from the darkest hours of the twentieth century to provide hope for the twenty-first. As he writes, "Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism and communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience."… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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