Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present (Paperback)

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Description


What modern authoritarian leaders have in common (and how they can be stopped).


Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the expert on the "strongman" playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin—enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America and Europe. In Strongmen, she lays bare the blueprint these leaders have followed over the past 100 years, and empowers us to recognize, resist, and prevent their disastrous rule in the future.


For ours is the age of authoritarian rulers: self-proclaimed saviors of the nation who evade accountability while robbing their people of truth, treasure, and the protections of democracy. They promise law and order, then legitimize lawbreaking by financial, sexual, and other predators.


They use masculinity as a symbol of strength and a political weapon. Taking what you want, and getting away with it, becomes proof of male authority. They use propaganda, corruption, and violence to stay in power.


Vladimir Putin and Mobutu Sese Seko’s kleptocracies, Augusto Pinochet’s torture sites, Benito Mussolini and Muammar Gaddafi’s systems of sexual exploitation, and Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump’s relentless misinformation: all show how authoritarian rule, far from ensuring stability, is marked by destructive chaos.


No other type of leader is so transparent about prioritizing self-interest over the public good. As one country after another has discovered, the strongman is at his worst when true guidance is most needed by his country.


Recounting the acts of solidarity and dignity that have undone strongmen over the past 100 years, Ben-Ghiat makes vividly clear that only by seeing the strongman for what he is—and by valuing one another as he is unable to do—can we stop him, now and in the future.



About the Author


Ruth Ben-Ghiat is an internationally acclaimed historian, speaker, and political commentator for the Atlantic, CNN, the Washington Post, and other publications. She is a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University and lives in New York City.

Praise For…


A timely analysis of how a certain kind of charisma delivers political disaster.
— Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

Everyone who cares about American democracy should read this book.
— Sarah Kendzior, author of Hiding in Plain Sight

What separates this book from the many others that examine tyrants and tyranny—is the analysis that puts this phenomenon in perspective.
— David M. Shribman - Boston Globe

Simultaneously intimate and sweeping in scope.…Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s clear prose rings with a rhythm and cadence that today’s nonfiction too often lacks.
— Sarah Chayes, author of On Corruption in America and Thieves of State

Ruth Ben-Ghiat…specializes in male menace.
— Jon Blitzer - The New Yorker

For the reader inured by the drip-drip-drip of stories of brazen corruption over the course of years, it is bracing to see a half-decade’s worth of reporting so carefully distilled.…Ben-Ghiat does not shy away from revealing America’s role in enabling dictatorships around the world.…It’s a chilling current through the book and one that pricks the conscience of a reader.
— Talia Lavin - Washington Post

Ruth Ben-Ghiat delivers a superb examination of how close the US came to fascism—and how it has propped it up before.
— Charles Kaiser - Guardian

Ben-Ghiat's portrayal of fascist-era tyrants, murderous Cold War dictators, and would-be tyrants in our own day gives us a gripping and illuminating picture of how strongmen have deployed violence, seduction, and corruption. History, she shows, offers clear lessons not only about how these regimes are built, but also how they must be opposed, and how they end.
— Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of How Democracies Die

A surpassingly brilliant public intellectual.
— Virginia Heffernan - Slate Trumpcast

Ben-Ghiat teaches us about the leaders.…[She] cogently states that the secret of the strongman is that he needs the crowds much more than they need him.
— Federico Finchelstein - New Republic

Rich in anecdote.…Ms. Ben-Ghiat is at her most persuasive when she writes of the importance of the strongman’s cult of personality.
— Tunku Varadarajan - Wall Street Journal

Deep insight and a vigorous style…[A] brilliant contribution to the political psychology of democracy.
— Joy Connolly, president of the American Council of Learned Societies
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393868418
ISBN-10: 0393868419
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021
Pages: 400
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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