On Tyranny
An historian of fascism offers a guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn towards authoritarianism.

On November 9th, millions of Americans woke up to the impossible: the election of Donald Trump as president. Against all predictions, one of the most-disliked presidential candidates in history had swept the electoral college, elevating a man with open contempt for democratic norms and institutions to the height of power.

Timothy Snyder is one of the most celebrated historians of the Holocaust. In his books Bloodlands and Black Earth, he has carefully dissected the events and values that enabled the rise of Hitler and Stalin and the execution of their catastrophic policies. With Twenty Lessons, Snyder draws from the darkest hours of the twentieth century to provide hope for the twenty-first. As he writes, “Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism and communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.”

Twenty Lessons is a call to arms and a guide to resistance, with invaluable ideas for how we can preserve our freedoms in the uncertain years to come.

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On Tyranny Reviews

  • Paul
    Mar 17, 2017


    "History does not repeat," Timothy Snyder begins his booklet, "but it does instruct." Of course, history instructs best when mediated through capable interlocutors like Snyder, who uses his formidable knowledge on the rise and fall of totalitarianism in mid-century Europe to assess wha...

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    Mar 17, 2017

    Peter Mcloughlin

    When I was a kid I had nuclear nightmares but I also had nightmares of Nazis coming to my town and taking over. I think I saw one too many WWII movies. However, historian Timothy Snyder uses his knowledge of history to deal with a would-be authoritarian or totalitarian coming into to y...

  • Branislav
    Mar 16, 2017


    Krátka ale dobrá kniha. Ak nemáte čo robiť najbližšie dve hodiny, prečítajte si ju. Dá vám súčasnú svetovú aj slovenskú politiku do historického kontextu aj s tipmi ako sa vyvarovať opakovania starých chýb. ...

  • Murray
    Mar 15, 2017


    Powerful. A polarizing call to action, or better yet, a call to history. Timothy Synder has lent his voice to a call for considered and meaningful resistance to the decline of democracy in the 21st century. Not just in the familiar terms of revolutionaries but through contemporary and ...

  • Peter Bradley
    Mar 14, 2017

    Peter Bradley

    Please give my review a helpful vote on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/review/R3PWF91...A sad example of how ideology distorts scholarship.I purchased this expecting a thoughtful discussion about the lessons that an academic can draw from 20th century totalitarianism. I was hopeful ab...

  • Lisa
    Mar 12, 2017


    “If young people do not begin to make history, politicians of eternity and inevitability will destroy it. And to make history, they need to know some. This is not the end, but a beginning.”The closing lines of this extended essay, divided into twenty lessons on history in its...

  • Joseph Montuori
    Mar 12, 2017

    Joseph Montuori

    On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder, 2017Timothy Snyder's thin pocketbook, On Tyranny, is a quick, must-read for all U.S. citizens — no matter how you voted. Snyder, a U.S. Historian of Eastern Europe, provides 20 brief historical lessons on au...

  • Kari
    Mar 11, 2017


    Quick powerful read. Perfectly pocket-sized. Everyone should keep a copy handy for the next...while. ...

  • Ron
    Mar 11, 2017


    The twenty lessons start out as a kind of checklist of how to recognize a slide from democracy into authoritarianism and also as a yard stick or metric. From there, the lessons morph into the practical ways that we can all resist that slide. Overall, this an excellent reference. Some o...

  • Al
    Mar 11, 2017


    While at moments this short book feels a little chicken little-ish and alarmist, I can't argue with the main of his ideas. They are well developed and extensively supported by history. Some of these ideas are real eye openers for me. One other idea also gives me great concern for Ameri...