Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

History does not repeat, but it does instruct.

In the 20th century, European democracies collapsed into fascism, Nazism and communism. These were movements in which a leader or a party claimed to give voice to the people, promised to protect them from global existential threats, and rejected reason in favour of myth. European history shows us that societies can break, democracies can fall, ethics can collapse, and ordinary people can find themselves in unimaginable circumstances. History can familiarise, and it can warn. Today we are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to totalitarianism in the 20th century. But when the political order seems imperilled, our advantage is that we can learn from their experience to resist the advance of tyranny. Now is a good time to do so.

©2017 Timothy Snyder (P)2017 Random House

What listeners say about On Tyranny

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    206
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    192
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    179
  • 4 Stars
    40
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    5

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Concise, illuminating and epic.

Timothy Snyder’s grasp of political history, and his ability to apply its lessons to contemporary events, is nothing short of ingenious.

If you genuinely want to understand where we are today and where tomorrow might take us, then you MUST also understand where we have come from first to adequately appreciate the context of our current situation.

This short book is required reading for anyone who wants to maintain western democratic values in the face of the growing trend towards authoritarian ‘sadopopulism’ that is currently espoused by Putin’s oligarchy/kleptocracy, Steve Bannon’s nationalist populism or Donald Trump’s cult of personality - which are all essentially slightly unique variations of the same dark and twisted ideology.

Timothy Snyder has given 21st century liberal democracy the biggest wake-up call it could possibly get; now it’s time for all of us who care about our future to answer his clarion call. Thanks to Snyder, I know I will.

And one day hopefully have a chance to buy him a beer - along with his next book.

Onwards to ‘The Road of Unfreedom’.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great and currently important

Loved it enough that I listened through twice in a few days! I'm English and feel quite strongly that young people in Europe and America need to know more history to enable us to maintain our progressive cultures, otherwise dictators may usurp power in a way we currently feel impossible having mentally consigned fascism to the past.

Well worth a listen, and has a recommended reading list in one chapter, so might be worth doing further research.

Well delivered by the author with no production errors!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A quick read to change how you see things

Short, snappy and made me realise that things are worse than I had previously thought. However, it does give practical advice so it is also optimistic. Everyone should read/listen to On Tyranny.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Important reading

Very thought provoking listen. Well read. Great anti-complacency brain food. Wake up and think. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Why was I so slow to find this excellent manifesto and warning

Having listened to the audio version narrated by the author, I feel powerfully better informed and motivated to join a modern day version of The International Brigade “No passaran!”

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Essential reading for our current age

An excellent, compact analysis of the lurch towards fascism in the West and what ordinary people should be doing to resist this tide. The lessons are familiar to anyone who has read any of the classic works on totalitarianism but Snyder introduces modern examples such as the Russian war against Ukraine and its attempts to destabilise Western Europe through disinformation and promoting right wing Islamophobes. Best lesson? Get off the Internet! Read a book and actually spend time talking to people outside of your bubble.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Bourgeois, tendentional.

An interesting read, but not that beneficial if you are already well read on political science. Good as a morally uplifting reminder to stand up to tyranny, but does not really work as anything else.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Must read

This is essential reading for our times and all who love freedom. Very highly recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding

What an incredible book. Mr Snyder reminds us that “past is prologue”, and that we should be mindful of the lessons history offers us. Thank you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Such an important read.

Truly a book of the moment. Concise and accessible. Essential reading for anyone concerned about the rise of popish and, despite its ills, the future of democracy.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Philip I. Kyson
  • Philip I. Kyson
  • 04-06-17

outstanding

A timely reminder of how to avoid the tyranny that is now at the front door of most peoples of the world. Knocking on all its guises.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for CJ V. Schalkwyk
  • CJ V. Schalkwyk
  • 09-03-21

Update

I would like to know if there will be an update which warns the populous of Biden and what the Democrats are doing.

As a South African, the reference to Trump was more funny than important, though I think that most people should learn to think for them selves and realise that all forms of media will be biased for / against government and learn to find as much of the story behind the stories as possible.

I noticed that the problems of BLM was not addressed directly, but if one follows the methods proposed and follow the money, you'll find it to be Dems using chaos for political gain.