A wake-up call that aims to restore our understanding of the basis of our way of life, from the author of international bestseller On Tyranny.
‘One of the best…brisk, conceptually convincing account of democracy’s retreat in the early years of 21st century’ Guardian
The past is another country, the old saying goes. The same might be said of the future. But which country? For Europeans and Americans today, the answer is Russia.
In this visionary work of contemporary history, Timothy Snyder shows how Russia works within the West to destroy the West; by supporting the far right in Europe, invading Ukraine in 2014, and waging a cyberwar during the 2016 presidential campaign and the EU referendum. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the creation of Donald Trump, an American failure deployed as a Russian weapon. But this threat presents an opportunity to better understand the pillars of our freedoms and face the choices that will determine the future: equality or oligarchy, individualism or totalitarianism, truth or lies.
‘A brilliant and disturbing analysis, which should be read by anyone wishing to understand the political crisis currently engulfing the world’ Yuval Noah Harari, bestselling author of Sapiens
With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy was thought to be absolute. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. But we now know this to be premature. Authoritarianism first returned in Russia, as Putin developed a political system dedicated solely to the consolidation and exercise of power. In the last six years, it has creeped from east to west as nationalism inflames Europe, abetted by Russian propaganda and cyberwarfare. While countries like Poland and Hungary have made hard turns towards authoritarianism, the electoral upsets of 2016 revealed the citizens of the US and UK in revolt against their countries' longstanding policies and values.
But this threat to the West also presents the opportunity to better understand the pillars of our own political order. In this forceful and unsparing work of contemporary history, Snyder goes beyond the headlines to expose the true nature of the threat to democracy. By showcasing the stark choices before us-between equality or oligarchy, individuality or totality, truth and falsehood-Snyder restores our understanding of the basis of our way of life, offering a way forward in a time of terrible uncertainty.