Features of The Road to Unfreedom PDF
The Road to Unfreedom PDF-NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of On Tyranny comes a stunning new chronicle of the rise of authoritarianism from Russia to Europe and America.
“A brilliant analysis of our time.”—Karl Ove Knausgaard, The New Yorker
With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy seemed final. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. This faith was misplaced. Authoritarianism returned to Russia, as Vladimir Putin found fascist ideas that could be used to justify rule by the wealthy. In the 2010s, it has spread from east to west, aided by Russian warfare in Ukraine and cyberwar in Europe and the United States.
Russia found allies among nationalists, oligarchs, and radicals everywhere, and its drive to dissolve Western institutions, states, and values found resonance within the West itself. The rise of populism, the British vote against the EU, and the election of Donald Trump were all Russian goals, but their achievement reveals the vulnerability of Western societies.
In this forceful and unsparing work of contemporary history, based on vast research as well as personal reporting, Snyder goes beyond the headlines to expose the true nature of the threat to democracy and law. To understand the challenge is to see, and perhaps renew, the fundamental political virtues offered by tradition and demanded by the future. By revealing 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.-The Road to Unfreedom PDF
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Timothy Snyder is one of the world’s leading historians, and a prominent public intellectual in the United States and Europe. An expert on eastern Europe and on the Second World War, he has written acclaimed and prize-winning books about twentieth-century European history, as well as political manifestos and analyses about the rise of tyranny in the contemporary world. His work has been translated into more than forty languages, and has inspired protest, art, and music. He serves as the Levin Professor of History and Public Affairs at Yale University and is the faculty advisor of the Fortunoff Archive for Holocaust Video Testimonies. He is also a permanent fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.
Dimensions and Characteristics of The Road to Unfreedom PDF
- Publisher : Crown; Reprint edition (April 9, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- International Standard Book Number-10 : 0525574476
- International Standard Book Number-13 : 978-0525574477
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.19 x 0.83 x 8 inches
- Book Name : The Road to Unfreedom PDF
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Top Dawg “Snyder’s book, “The Road to Unfreedom” is daunting. It’s jacket has the words “Russia, Europe, America,” and that might lead you to believe it covers each country in succession. Instead it covers them in parallel with a lot of emphasis on Russia. You need to know that at the outset. Snyder has terms of his own construction such as the “politics of inevitability” and the “politics of eternity.” Reread these very carefully on pages 8 and 9 and dog ear those pages. They are central to the rest of the book. Unfortunately, they are not intuitively clear, never well defined, and referred to often. This is the major flaw of the book.
Snyder has a peculiarly insightful analysis of events. It can be both revealing and confusing at the same time. His prose ranges from clear and concise to intertwined and difficult. I had to double back often to track some thoughts (something I almost never have to do). The short ending epilogue is particularly obtuse.
All that said, the man has done his homework remarkably well (with help from his grad students). His accumulation of specific facts and his tying them together make the book a compelling read and a punch to the gut. You get insights not found elsewhere. Just three examples…1. The influence of the political philosopher Ivan Ilyn on Putin and contemporary Russia, 2. The truth behind the war in Ukraine especially it’s cyber and propaganda elements, 3. The links between Russian oligarchical and criminal money and Donald Trump’s business ventures. Snyder makes a strong case that Trump is at best a Russian patsy if not much worse. Trump lovers will gag on the facts he lays out.
If you want to get more on Trump and where America is headed, I recommend reading “Trumpocracy” and “Killing Democracy.” You may also like Snyder’s very short book “On Tyranny.” If you get caught up in his idea of the “politics of eternity,” you might find “The Fourth Turning” worth reading. It’s a bit bizarre, but it espouses a cyclical form of history that complements Snyder’s description. This last book has been deemed “Steve Bannon’s Bible” by some. All thee books are on .
(Spoiler alert – stop here unless you want to find out more about the content.) There are some inescapable conclusions from the book. Russian media is managed to present the story the government wants presented and bears absolutely no connection to the truth. It is the ultimate in “fake news.” This is so blatant that Americans really cannot imagine the breadth and depth of its lies. Russia is actively workjng to destabilize America and Europe in order to bring them down to the economic and undemocratic level of Russia. Since Russia cannot improve due to its kleptocracy and oligarchy, it’s only option is to ruin the West. The Russians have financed Trump to cover his failed businesses and massive debts putting him in their pocket. The ties between the government and the oligarchs enable Putin to use them as intermediaries so that support is not directly tied to the government. Hence, “no collusion.” Russia back Trump because they realized how destructive his personality and illogical actions would be to U.S. government. Snyder lays out the fact that all of Russia’s efforts were for Trump and against Clinton to make that point. America is in an information war for the truth in order to save it’s democracy. Fox News and the far left are not helping as both get baited and ensnared by Russia misinformation.”
John D. Cofield “As a professor of history Timothy Snyder has written extensively on authoritarian and totalitarian movements in the twentieth century. The Road to Unfreedom is one of his briefer works, but an extremely important one nonetheless. Snyder’s most important contribution to the growing set of volumes analyzing why the 2016 US Presidential election went so catastrophically wrong is to set the events of that year in their proper historical context, reminding us once again that history not only repeats itself, it sometimes whacks us over the head and screams “Why didn’t you pay attention?”
Snyder spends the first section of his book detailing the differences between the politics of inevitability, in which progress is believed to be unstoppable and democracy and capitalism the certain future for all; and the politics of eternity, in which progress is temporary and history is cyclical, favoring elites and abandoning any concern for the masses. He identifies the Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin as a high priest of the politics of eternity. An anti-Bolshevik who was exiled from Soviet Russia in 1922, Ilyin called for a Fascist counter-revolution and portrayed Russia as the innocent victim of foreign intriguers. Although Ilyin died in the 1950s his writings were to have enormous influence on the Russian politicians of the 2010s who oversaw their country’s descent into kleptocracy, including Vladimir Putin himself. It was thanks to Ilyin’s influence that Putin took steps to destabilize the regions he perceived to be Russia’s enemies, primarily the European Union and the United States.
Snyder spends a great deal of time detailing the events of 2014-15 in Ukraine, which the Russians invaded while denying they were doing so, spreading confusion with the assistance of the government-controlled Russian media as well as more reputable Western outlets like the Guardian and the Nation. I found these chapters most eye-opening because like most Westerners I remember being extremely confused over what exactly was taking place between Ukraine and Russia. As I read, I realized that in many respects what happened to Ukraine in 2014 was a practice round for what was to occur in the European Union and the United States in 2016. Snyder goes on to expose Russian efforts to influence the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the United States. Much of his material here has already been covered, but it’s still important to reread it and be forewarned for the future. As I read, I found my memory returning again and again to an old TV mini-series from the 1980s called “Amerika,” about a Soviet takeover of the United States. Reading of Kremlin conspiracies and conversations between Russian oligarchs and their European and American stooges making plans to defeat the West I realized that that old series has actually come to fruition thirty years after its broadcast.
The Road to Unfreedom ends bleakly, though the last lines from the epilogue does allow some hope: “If we see history as it is, we see our places in it, what we might change, and how we might do better. We halt our thoughtless journey from inevitability to eternity, and exit the road to unfreedom. We begin a politics of responsibility. To take part in its creation is to see a world for a second time. Students of the virtues that history reveals, we become the makers of a renewal that no one can foresee.”
This is a brief work of less than 300 pages followed by an extensive End notes section. It is one of the most important works concerned Americans and Europeans can read in 2018.”
Anglian Traveller “Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale and author of ‘Bloodlands’ and ‘Black Earth.’ He speaks and writes in five European languages, reads philosophical works in their original Russian and lectures in English, German and Polish. Snyder’s specialist subject is the study of how democratic government has in various places through the past century been skilfully dismantled stage-by-stage by autocrats, and ‘The Road to Unfreedom’ has an intentionally Orwellian-sounding title.
The book is essentially the story of how Putin is and his oligarchic clan have spread their fascist ideology through Europe by invading and annexing southern and southeastern Ukraine and successfully developed hybrid information-warfare to support right-wing parties in Britain, France (Putin lavishly & openly supported le Pen financially), Germany & Poland, interfering in the electoral systems of western democracies by exploiting their vulnerabilities and complacency.
The long closing chapter is an extremely detailed forensic analysis of how Trump is owned financially by Russian oligarchs and, according to Snyder, how the US presidency is now owned by Putin.
One of Snyder’s most interesting ideas centres around how what he refers to as ‘the politics of inevitability’, the prevailing zetitgeist in the years following the end of the Cold War in 1989, have been overtaken by ‘the politics of eternity’ which is essentially how fascist regimes operate. These complex concepts are explained succinctly in Snyder’s public lectures and to-camera online monologues, which I recommend to the prospective reader prior to tackling this challenging but excellent academic thesis.
The POE work like this. When all political power is held by 0.1% of the population who together own circa 80% of a country’s wealth, this privileged minority cannot allow democracy or rule of law to flourish as this will lead to diminishment of their wealth through the high taxation necessary to enact progressive legislation to improve life chances for the many and move society forward. So an alternative reality is created, a different sense of time; by connecting emotionally with a sector of the population (‘the base’) and looping back to a non-specific former time, promising to “make Germany/Russia/America great again” (the language & message is always the same). The idea is fostered that there is no truth other than the purity of ‘the people’, ‘the nation’, who are under threat by contamination from outside: Jews, moslems, ‘western degeneracy’, homosexuality, Mexicans, liberals, people from “s***hole countries”.
The purpose of government then changes from ‘doing’ – i.e. improving society by moving it forward and making everyone’s lives better – to ‘being’, guarding the purity of ‘the true people’. All politicians lie, but you may choose our lies, our alternative reality, over ‘theirs’: the others, the outsiders, the ‘them’ who are not us. During this process, political opposition is eliminated in stages, elections become a rigged and managed ritual, investigative journalism is eliminated and replaced by state propaganda (i.e. RT, Sputnik & Fox News), and politics is reduced to a theatrical spectacle of rabble-rousing rallies and the manufacture of artificial crises one after another to keep the population off-balance and continuously emotionally enraged.
While it’s possible to nit-pick at the edges of Prof Snyder’s thesis and take issue with a few insufficiently supported claims, as a writer overall he displays a knowledge of history and clarity of original thought without parallel. It’s scary stuff which may change the way you understand the current and future political landscape, particularly how the forces of neo-fascism (Putin, Le Pen, AFD, Trump) manipulate reality to their advantage in their thirst for personal wealth, power and status.”
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