‘A gripping and illuminating picture of how strongmen have deployed violence, seduction, and corruption’ Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of How Democracies Die
‘A timely analysis of how a certain kind of charisma delivers political disaster’ Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny
Ours is the age of the strongman. Countries from Russia to India, Turkey to America are ruled by men who combine populist appeal with authoritarian policy. They have reshaped their countries around them, creating cults of personality which earn the loyalty of millions. And they do so by drawing on a playbook of behaviour established by figures such as Benito Mussolini, Muammar Gaddafi and Adolf Hitler. So why – despite the evidence of history – do strongmen still hold such appeal for us?
Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat draws on analysis of everything from gender to corruption and propaganda to explain who these political figures are – and how they manipulate our own history, fears and desires in search of power at any cost. Strongmen is a fierce and perceptive history, and a vital step in understanding how to combat the forces which seek to derail democracy and seize our rights.
With a steady gaze and an eye for the telling detail, Ruth Ben-Ghiat delivers a timely analysis of how a certain kind of charisma delivers political disaster - and some valuable hints about how it can be resisted, and the virtues we will need to rebuild democracy -- Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny Ruth Ben-Ghiat is an indispensable resource on authoritarianism, past and present. Everyone who cares about American democracy should read this book -- Sarah Kendzior, author of Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America Ben-Ghiat's portrayal of fascist era tyrants, murderous Cold War dictators, and would-be tyrants in our own day gives us a gripping and illuminating picture of how strongmen have deployed violence, seduction, and corruption. History, Ben-Ghiat shows, offers clear lessons not only about how these regimes are built, but also how they must be opposed, and how they inevitably end -- Daniel Ziblatt, co-author How Democracies Die Simultaneously intimate and sweeping in scope, STRONGMEN brings us in close to dictators and would-be dictators across decades and continents. We are left with a disturbing look in the mirror. Throughout, Ben-Ghiat's clear prose rings with a rhythm and cadence that today's nonfiction too often lacks -- Sarah Chayes, author of On Corruption in America: And What Is at Stake and Thieves of State Deep insight and a vigorous style ... a brilliant contribution to the political psychology of democracy -- Joy Connolly, President of the American Council of Learned Societies Praise for Ruth Ben-Ghiat: [A] surpassingly brilliant public intellectual... -- Virginia Heffernan on Slate Trumpcast
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