Authoritarianism seems to be making a comeback. Indeed some, including Timothy Snyder, the author of this book and an American historian and academic, worry that Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has parallels with the rise of Hitler. His book examines how historical leaders have subverted democracy, and offers tips for how we may prevent that happening again. It is a slim yet vital book, says Carlos Lozada in the Chicago Tribune, written with “bracing immediacy” and “providing 20 plain and mostly actionable lessons”.
He provokes us to think again about major issues of our time, says Richard J Evans in The Guardian. But “he seems to have rushed it”. The book could do with “far greater depth of historical illustration” and is unconvincing with regard to the rise of Trump. He overeggs that one, agrees Michael Gove in The Times, but if more people followed Snyder’s injunctions to read newspapers, avoid falling for contrived scandals, make friends across boundaries and remember professional ethics, then the world “would indeed be a better place”.