A cogent 126-page reminder of what we have to lose.


“The bad news,” Snyder writes, “is that the history of modern democracy is…one of decline and fall…Americans today are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism in the twentieth century.”

and then goes on to elucidate that thesis in twenty lessons, all of which should be self-evident to anyone of average intelligence and education but the meanings of which continue to elude us to this day.

“Do not obey in advance,” is lesson one, and Snyder cites Austria’s “anticipatory obedience” in Hitler’s annexation of their country in 1938. “Defend institutions” is his second, as in don’t believe everything is fake news just because someone says it is. A free press still exists. Support it and defend it.

“Beware the one-party state.”*

No doubt the Russians who voted in 1990 did not think that this would be the last free and fair election in their country’s history, which (thus far) it has been…The Russian oligarchy established after the 1990 elections continues to function, and promotes a foreign policy designed to destroy democracy elsewhere.

“Stand out.”

Someone has to…Remember Rosa Parks. The moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

One word: Parkland.

A cogent 126-page reminder of what we have to lose, although too many of us seem all too ready to cede all authority to the nearest strongman and always have. Vide I Samuel 8.

*I live in one myself. I can relate.

Book Review Monday Chatter Uncategorized

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. About a month ago I walked by the neighborhood book store, veering inside to find this book. I could only remember the topic, not the title, but after a few awkward words the clerk said, “Timothy Snyder’s book?” I nodded, and was directed to their last copy. My great-grandparents escaped pogroms in 1905, my ex-husband was born to Holocaust survivors who soon escaped impending Communist Romania, and in the 1980s I heard stories as I helped resettle Russian refuseniks in our town. Snyder speaks to the reasons I keep my passport current.

Leave a Reply