Twilight of Democracy

Twilight of Democracy

The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

Book - 2020
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"A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist explains, with electrifying clarity, why some of her contemporaries have abandoned liberal democratic ideals in favor of strongman cults, nationalist movements, or one-party states. Across the world today, from the U.S. to Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege while different forms of authoritarianism are on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum argues that we should not be surprised by this change: there is an inherent appeal to political systems with radically simple beliefs, especially when they benefit the loyal to the exclusion of everyone else. People are not just ideological, she contends in this captivating extended essay; they are also practical, pragmatic, opportunist. The authoritarian and nationalist parties that have arisen within modern democracies offer new paths to wealth or power for their adherents. Describing politicians, journalists, intellectuals, and others who have abandoned democratic ideals in the UK, U.S., Spain, Poland, and Hungary, Applebaum reveals the patterns that link the new advocates of illiberalism and charts how they use conspiracy theory, political polarization, social media, and nostalgia to change their societies"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Signal, 2020
ISBN: 9780771005855
Characteristics: 206 pages


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Dec 21, 2020

From The Economist's Books of the Year (2020): "Mixing personal anecdote and analysis, a well-connected historian of communism chronicles the collapse of the international liberal coalition that was forged during the cold war. A perceptive insight into the rise of authoritarian populism."

Nov 27, 2020

Absolutely excellent book. Applebaum has friends in high places all over the world and interweaves all the recent world histories with the alt right and its seductive lure. I will definitely read this book at least one more time.

Nov 25, 2020

Somewhat frightening and definitely thought-provoking. As I was reading, some things came to mind that I had read elsewhere. when Franklin was asked what kind of government the founding fathers had given us, his reply was "A republic, if you can keep it." A democracy needs active support from its citizens. Another thought was that for a democracy to succeed, there needs to be an educated/informed electorate. that is what is sometimes missing and threatens our democracy.

Oct 21, 2020

I'm not sure how this came across my radar--twitter? I'm always reading about the current political situation and leadup in this country, so this seemed like another good book in that vein, but I've found it the least useful I've read so far. She name drops other, better authors that I would recommend instead (Timothy Snyder being one). Actually, she spends a lot of time name dropping her sh*tty ex-friends, such as Laura Ingram and Boris Johnson, that she no longer speaks to, and I'm sooooo sorry that's soooo sad. Too bad conservatives aren't like REAGAN and THATCHER anymore. -.-
I am NOT interested in centrist (center-right or left) critiques of "how we got here," which unfortunately she is invested in. Any talk of the "far-left" applied to American politics makes me go "what the f*ck are you talking about" and dismiss. Gets my hackles up to imply leftist critiques unfairly boil down to "we dwon't wike Amerwica." Yea! It f*cking sucks here! Weird that you don't even live in the country, lady. I wish.
The only thing that resonated with me was the pessimism about the project of democracy in the long run, and how to deal with at least a third of the population having an "authoritarian predisposition" (I don't exempt myself from this third, I think) (re:dealing: not at all???), which can attach to either end of the political spectrum.

Aug 05, 2020

I wrote a review of this book on my website You can read it at the link here:

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