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The Road to Unfreedom
The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America | Timothy Snyder
15 posts | 7 read | 12 to read
With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy was thought to be final. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. This faith was misplaced. Authoritarianism returned to Russia, as 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 and information war in Europe and the United States. Russia found allies among nationalists and oligarchs 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 and the uncertain character of Western political order. This threat to Western democracy presents an opportunity to better understand the pillars of our own political order. 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. 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.
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review
ImperfectCJ
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Pickpick

Snyder argues that the US, as a country of increasing inequality, has made itself ripe for oligarchy and vulnerable to foreign influence toward the destabilization of our democracy, as seen by the ongoing cyberattacks by Russia and the complicity and complacency of US elected officials who stand to gain from such attacks. This book puts into context the history we're living right now and provides a general roadmap towards recovering our democracy.

ImperfectCJ The butterfly is just to help provide counterbalance to the desolation lurking in the background as I read this book. 1mo
24 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ImperfectCJ
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Restless and not enjoying The Testaments, I have turned to audio-crocheting, with the book-book by my side for underlining purposes. This one isn't technically in my #24B4Monday stack, but it's the audiobook I have at hand. Dystopian nonfiction instead of dystopian fiction.

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ImperfectCJ
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"The greater and the more obvious the lie, the more his subjects demonstrate their loyalty by accepting it..."

TalecArashi Oof 1mo
17 likes1 comment
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RenatoR
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A disquieting examination of the maligned forces at play in the current presidency.

ImperfectCJ I'm enjoying this one, if that's the right word for appreciating a book that puts me in a bad mood whenever I read it. 2mo
2 likes1 comment
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ImperfectCJ
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“To distract from their inability or unwillingness to reform, eternity politicians instruct their citizens to experience elation and outrage at short intervals, drowning the future in the present.“

(And don't worry...this isn't a library book. I bought a copy specifically so I could underline and write in the margins.)

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ImperfectCJ
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Picked up a new horror story. Hopefully it has a happy ending.

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Weaponxgirl
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Kindle daily deal alert in the uk! 99p!
I bought as soon as I saw bbc history magazine book of the year winner and I loved his book on tyranny.

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nofutureparttwo
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A rigorous intellectual history of the slow subversion of post-Cold War democracy, written with a graceful clarity that‘s Orwellian in the best sense. The politics of eternity and inevitability, exhibited respectively by Russia and the West, are a dialectic; Snyder shows how eternity politics takes root in the cracks of Western liberalism. His formulation of Trump‘s “sadopopulism” is also deeply insightful. Essential reading.

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nofutureparttwo

“Of course, citizens play their part in creating a totalitarian atmosphere. [...] Citizens are curious: surely what is hidden is most interesting, and surely the thrill of revelation is liberation. Once all that is taken for granted, the discussion shifts from the public and the known to the secret and the unknown. Rather than trying to make sense of what is around us, we hunger for the next revelation.”
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So much here is hitting home for me.

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nofutureparttwo

“The temptation to believe what feels right assails us at all times from all directions. Authoritarianism begins when we can no longer tell the difference between the true and the appealing. [...] To seek the truth means finding a way between conformity and complacency, towards individuality. [...] When inequality is too great, the truth is too much for the miserable, and too little for the privileged.”

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nofutureparttwo

“Inevitability and eternity are not history but ideas within history, ways of experiencing our time that accelerate its trends while slowing our thoughts. To see, we must set aside the dark glass, and see as we are seen, ideas for what they are, history as what we make it. [...] As institutions are destroyed, virtues reveal themselves. A history of loss is thus a proposal for restoration.”

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nofutureparttwo

On sadopopulusm: “The politics of eternity converts pain into meaning, and then meaning back into more pain. [...] Under Trump, Americans came to expect the administration of pain and pleasure, the daily outrage or triumph. For supporters and opponents alike, experience of politics became an addictive behavior, like time spent online or on heroin: a cycle of good and bad moments spent all alone.”

Probably the most important passage in this book.

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HannaPolkadots
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This was really good and, just like Snyder's Black Earth, taught me a lot. I've already had the school librarian order it, and recommended it to several of my students. If you're interested in politics, Russia's influence in American (and European) affairs and the media, this is a great book to read.

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QuietlyLaura

I borrowed this from the library and find it really interesting but also overwhelming due to all the info that goes along with a nonfiction book. I'm getting frustrated with myself for not being able to concentrate on it or absorb the info like I think I should. Sometimes I think I'm just not smart enough.

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QuietlyLaura
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Yesterday I made a special trip to the library for this book despite having an upset stomach. It's "current history" about Russia and its machinations over the last few years.
#librarybook #nonfiction #CurrentHistory

JoScho Hope you feel better ❤️ 1y
CouronneDhiver Thinking about you. ❤️ 1y
QuietlyLaura @JoScho Thank you. I do feel better today. It was a combination of nerves and unexpected cheese consumption that made me unwell. 1y
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QuietlyLaura @CouronneDhiver Thank you. I appreciate all the good thoughts! 1y
CouronneDhiver Were you able to do your planned outing with mom today? 1y
QuietlyLaura @CouronneDhiver Thank you for asking! Our outing is tomorrow morning. I would go no matter what as it's important to me to honor my Dad. 1y
LauraBeth Glad you‘re feeling better! We‘ll all honor your dad tomorrow 💕 1y
LauraBeth Also - 📚 1y
QuietlyLaura @LauraBeth Thank you! That is so nice of you! Litsy is such a wonderful place. ❤ 1y
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