Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism Review

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author, professor, and historian offers an expert guide to understanding the appeal of the strongman as a leader and an explanation for why authoritarianism is back with a menacing twenty-first century twist.

Across the world today, from the Americas to Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege while populism and nationalism are on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum offers an unexpected explanation: that there is a deep and inherent appeal to authoritarianism, to strongmen, and, especially, to one-party rule--that is, to political systems that benefit true believers, or loyal soldiers, or simply the friends and distant cousins of the Leader, to the exclusion of everyone else.
People, she argues, are not just ideological; they are also practical, pragmatic, opportunistic. They worry about their families, their houses, their careers. Some political systems offer them possibilities, and others don't. In particular, the modern authoritarian parties that have arisen within democracies today offer the possibility of success to people who do not thrive in the meritocratic, democratic, or free-market competition that determines access to wealth and power.
Drawing on reporting in Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, and Brazil; using historical examples including Stalinist central Europe and Nazi Germany; and investigating related phenomena: the modern conspiracy theory, nostalgia for a golden past, political polarization, and meritocracy and its discontents, Anne Applebaum brilliantly illuminates the seduction of totalitarian thinking and the eternal appeal of the one-party state.

Title:Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism
Edition Language:English

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    Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    “The post-1989 liberal movement—this was the exception,” Strathis Kalyvas said. Unity is an anomaly. Polarization is normal. Skepticism about liberal democracy is also normal. And the appeal ...

  • Kimba Tichenor

    Journalist and sometime historian, Ann Applebaum offers in this monograph her assessment of contemporary polarized politics in Europe and the United States. Like many from both sides of the political ...

  • Jenna

    Big on names, short on analysis, and written by someone with an immense ego who uses the book as a platform to brag about who she knows. However, knowing famous people doesn't necessarily mean you hav...

  • Bruce Katz

    4.5 This is a disturbing book. It's meant to be disturbing. Many books have been written over the past few years (let's pick 2016 as a randomly chosen starting point) examining the dark shifts taking ...

  • John

    This was ridiculous.After spending exhaustive detail on name dropping and burnishing her conservative bona fides, the author can't, for the life of her, figure out why folks blame right wing folks for...

  • Matt

    I have decided to embark on a mission to read a number of books on subjects that will be of great importance to the upcoming 2020 US Presidential Election. Many of these will focus on actors intricate...

  • Linda

    I finished this book the Monday before the US election, but I felt too anxious to write a review. Once the results came in, I was riding high on Biden's victory and didn't want to leave that state of ...

  • Tauno

    Anne ApplebaumHistory Will Judge the ComplicitFor tormented intellectuals, collaboration also offered a kind of relief, almost a sense of peace: It meant that they were no longer constantly at war wit...

  • Karyn

    Democracies are complex and citizens are loud and often chaotic. Independent thinking and the optimism of working towards the ideals of a complex and rich culture are not for everyone, obviously. “U...

  • Brad Lyerla

    Applebaum's thesis in TWILIGHT OF DEMOCRACY is that authoritarianism is on the rise across the globe. Authoritarian tyrants in the 21st century have all followed the same pattern. Most of her monograp...