Review — On Tyranny:
Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
by Timothy Snyder
It's easy to feel despair about America, that everything is coming apart at the seams. Despair leads to helplessness, and helplessness leads to Tyranny. These books are the antidote for that despair, a recipe for fighting back against Tyranny and making ourselves into better citizens and the nation a better nation.
Make no mistake: This work is an important how-to manual for safeguarding our way of life in these turbulent times. It is designed to give both information and encouragement to the reader. It is not a book of doom, but a book of hope and national self-help.
In this astonishingly slim volume, each of the 20 chapters is only 2 or 3 pages in length, Snyder details both the history of and the cures for tyranny in the 20th century. Of course the best cure is avoidance, on which Snyder has much to say that is of practical use everyday.
Tim Snyder is exceedingly well-placed to be our guide as the West struggles to rescue our nations from the forces who oppose the rule of law & civil society. A historian by training, Snyder specializes in the 20th century European history at Yale. He is, therefore, by necessity a superb guide to the many Totalitarian regimes that plagued the continent during the 20th century: Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, & Russia.
Along the way Snyder slips in bits of advice and observations from the thinkers and writers who actually experienced and battled totalitarian regimes in the past: Arendt, Havel, Klemperer, Orwell, Huxley, Dostoevsky, Camus, & Milosz, to name the most prominent.
Snyder details the slippery slopes and outlandish fortunes that ushered the worst of tyrannical regimes to power. And he cautions that the United States, after already being stampeded into unAmerican aspects of the Patriot Act, are but a terrorist attack or two away from tyranny ourselves. A quite sobering but not outrageous thought.
As a how-to book for building better and more resilient citizens, On Tyranny ranks with Clay Jenkinson's Becoming Jefferson's People as must have guides for citizenship. Both are slim but necessary handbooks for citizenship in these perilous times
Both are also available as e-books and audio books. On Tyranny on Amazon. And Becoming Jefferson's People on BandCamp.