Book Notes: On Tyranny

On Tyranny

On Tyranny:
Twenty Lessons from the
Twentieth Century
by Timothy Snyder
Published 03/28/2017
by Tim Duggan Books/The Crown Publishing
126 pages


This post will be special.  I don’t have the ambition to review the book. Plus really what I think about it is irrelevant here. The only important thing I can tell you is, please read it now, plus it’s super short.
Here are some pages that I thought were very important. I hope posting these will be a good incentive for you to read On Tyranny.

I’ll just say that the author is a History Professor at Yale, where he teaches “undergraduate and graduate courses in modern East European political history”.
On the basis of his vast knowledge of European history, especially around the times of Hitler and Stalin, he offers us twenty lessons on how to think and act today, when we still have time to prevent history from repeating itself.

If the pictures are too small, right click and choose “open image in new tab”, then you can zoom i if necessary.

On Tyranny page 59

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On Tyranny page 65

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On Tyranny page 71

In conversations with friends, it’s not unusual that I mention my alarm at the category sociologists use to describe our time. They call it the post-truth era. Which I have always found really scary. This above passage articulated it within the broader perspective of History.
Truth does exist. If you think you can have your own little truth, and your neighbor can have his or her, under the pretext that you are free to do whatever you want, you are opening the door to a major form of bondage that you may have a very hard time escaping.

On Tyranny page 103

Seeing how people have been rushing to stores to buy the same item in so many quantities, only thinking about their own little self, and panicking at the possible arrival of the coronavirus on a bigger scale in the US, reveal how far we are from the wisdom contained in this book.
Fear is also a sign of the bondage I mentioned above.

“Hitler had used an act of terror [a fire that started at the house of the German Parliament on February 27, 1933], an event of limited inherent significance, to institute a regime of terror that killed millions of people and changed the world.” page 105

These pages came to mind when I heard about the riot police on Dayton campus when the students demonstrated against their campus being closed in the coming weeks. Was it really necessary to use tear/pepper gas?
Not to mention the multiple violent interventions of the riot police in France all these past months.

On Tyranny page 110 On Tyranny page 123

On Tyranny - BACK COVER

VERDICT: I was told by many people to read this book. That’s now my message to you!

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What do you say to encourage others to read it?



5 thoughts on “Book Notes: On Tyranny

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