On Tyranny ~ by Timothy Snyder

I need some kind of highest praise word here,  “ remarkable and extraordinary aren’t quite enough. “Important” is in the ball park but “vital”  is better.  One reviewer said, “Reading this book is imperative. You may not get another chance.”

This is a clear, timely, and very concise explanation of what tyranny is and how it could easily come to pass in the US at this point in time. Snyder is a historian from Yale with a specialty in German Nazism as well as Stalinist Russia.  He knows what he’s talking about.  This is a warning to all of us!  .

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

by Timothy Snyder
2017 / 130 pages
rating:   10

What Snyder is talking about is how tyranny comes into existence and how best to resist it.  “Who, how, when, where, why. That  is why the book is “vital.”  “imperative.”

The “Twenty Lessons” are very short essays on 20th century history and how it applies to the world (the US)  today,  specifically  with our current president.  What happened that Hitler and Stalin should become the tyrants they were –  that they accrued such power, took so much freedom, and ended so many lives?  Can it happen here?  You betcha.  Actually it looks  inevitable unless we and the young people stand up and refuse.

Some of the “lessons” are only a few paragraphs long, others go on for several pages. It’s like an introduction,  an overview, a summary, and a guide. Do not obey in advance

  1. Defend institutions
  2. Beware the one-party state
  3. Take responsibility for the face of the worls
  4. Remember professional ethics
  5. Be wary of paramilitaries
  6. Be reflective if you must be armed
  7. Stand out
  8. Be kind to our language
  9. Believe in truth
  10. Investigate
  11. Make eye contact and small talk
  12. Practice corporeal politics
  13. Establish a private life
  14. Contribute to good causes
  15. Learn from peers in other countries
  16. Listen for dangerous words
  17. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives
  18. Be a patriot
  19. Be as courageous as you can
  20. Epilogue



Democracy Now: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/5/30/on_tyranny_yale_historian_timothy_snyder

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