This short book can be read in an hour, but it provides a great deal of historical insight and advice for how to engage in a post-truth (or as Snyder calls it, "pre-fascist") society. Snyder is a celebrated historian of the mid-20th century, and he uses his encyclopedic knowledge of European fascist and communist regimes to reveal their 21st-century American echoes, and to arm the reader with directives like "do not obey in advance" and "make eye contact" that sound simple but can be remarkably courageous. On Tyranny is both a comforting and a terrifying book: its comfort lies in knowing that resisting tyranny is possible, and its terror lies in knowing that such resistance is now necessary. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
America in 2017 is a traffic accident I can’t tear my eyes from. Timothy Snyder offers short history lessons on how Americans have survived difficult times before, and suggests that with thoughtfulness and a moral compass we can survive them again. These examples give me a certain amount of hope that we can get through the current sundering of our democracy and social fabric, and that we can arrest the destruction of America’s fundamental freedoms. On Tyranny is a small book that inspires big thoughts. Read it alone, read it at school, but above all: read it with your kids. Recommended By Tracey T., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
#1 New York Times Bestseller - A historian of fascism offers a guide for surviving and resisting America's turn towards authoritarianism.
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.
On Tyranny is a call to arms and a guide to resistance, with invaluable ideas for how we can preserve our freedoms in the uncertain years to come.
"Snyder knows this subject cold. . . . It is impossible to read aphorisms like 'post-truth is pre-fascism' and not feel a small chill about the current state of the Republic. . . . Approach this short book the same you would a medical pamphlet warning about an infectious disease. Read it carefully and be on the lookout for symptoms." The New York Times Book Review
"The perfect clear-eyed antidote to Trump's deliberate philistinism. . . . These 128 pages are a brief primer in every important thing we might have learned from the history of the last century, and all that we appear to have forgotten." The Guardian
"Timothy Snyder reasons with unparalleled clarity, throwing the past and future into sharp relief. He has written the rare kind of book that can be read in one sitting but will keep you coming back to help regain your bearings." Masha Gessen
"Easily the most compelling volume among the early resistance literature. . . . A slim book that fits alongside your pocket Constitution and feels only slightly less vital. . . . Clarifying and unnerving. . . . A memorable work that is grounded in history yet imbued with the fierce urgency of what now." Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post
About the Author
Timothy Snyder is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. Snyder is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and a permanent fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.