The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

by Timothy Snyder

Narrated by Timothy Snyder

Unabridged — 10 hours, 10 minutes

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

by Timothy Snyder

Narrated by Timothy Snyder

Unabridged — 10 hours, 10 minutes

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With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy was thought to be absolute. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. But we now know this to be premature. Authoritarianism first returned in Russia, as Putin developed a political system dedicated solely to the consolidation and exercise of power. In the last six years, it has creeped from east to west as nationalism inflames Europe, abetted by Russian propaganda and cyberwarfare. While countries like Poland and Hungary have made hard turns towards authoritarianism, the electoral upsets of 2016 revealed the citizens of the US and UK in revolt against their countries' longstanding policies and values.

But this threat to the West also presents the opportunity to better understand the pillars of our own political order. In this forceful and unsparing work of contemporary history, Snyder goes beyond the headlines to expose the true nature of the threat to democracy. 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.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Margaret MacMillan

We are living in dangerous times, Timothy Snyder argues forcefully and eloquently in his new book, The Road to Unfreedom. Too many of us, leaders and followers, are irresponsible, rejecting ideas that don't fit our preconceptions, refusing discussion and rejecting compromise. Worse, we are prepared to deny the humanity and rights of others…The Road to Unfreedom is a good wake-up call. You don't have to agree with all of Snyder's conclusions, but he is right that understanding is empowerment.

Publishers Weekly

Yale history professor Snyder (On Tyranny) buttresses his denunciation of Donald Trump as a nascent authoritarian with a fascinating, detailed exploration of how recent events in Russia presaged Trump’s administration. Beginning by discussing the obscure early-20th-century Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin, who regarded “fascism as the politics of the world to come,” Snyder traces Ilyin’s influence on Vladimir Putin’s aggressive efforts to return his country to superpower status. Those included the 2014 invasion of Ukraine, which Snyder considers “the warning that went unheeded” of Russia’s willingness to interfere with other countries’ political systems, as later seen during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He relates Ilyin’s belief that strong rulers favor self-serving myths over empirical evidence to numerous examples of the Putin regime’s propaganda. In perhaps its most audacious PR coup, Russia’s downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine was spun so successfully that well over 80% of Russians believed their country wasn’t to blame. This instance of “alternative facts” will resonate with many Trump opponents, as will Snyder’s dissection of the leadership style of oligarchs, both Russian and American. His work achieves its stated goal of conveying the relationship among “interconnected events in our own contemporary world history” and will be a must-read for those concerned about democracy’s safety in the 21st century. Agent: Tina Bennett, WME. (Apr.)

From the Publisher

A New York Times Editors' Choice
Shortlisted for the 2019 Lionel Gelber Prize

“A brilliant and disturbing analysis, which should be read by anyone wishing to understand the political crisis currently engulfing the world.” Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens

“Combining topical reporting with delvings into the history of ideas and some political-philosophical musing in the author’s own voice, this relatively short book covers a vast canvas. . . . A roller-coaster world calls for a news editor’s skill in processing facts and a philosopher’s ability to dissect ideologies. Snyder has both.” —The Economist

The Road to Unfreedom is a rich and complex book, punctuated by epigrams that cast heroic clarity upon the disturbing distance the United States has already traveled to the sinister destination in Snyder’s title. If some of Snyder’s assessment seems overstated or premature, he can powerfully reply: He has perceived more accurately than his critics what has already happened. He has earned the right to be heard on what may lie ahead.” —David Frum, The Atlantic

The Road to Unfreedom offers a brief, potent and carefully documented history of Vladimir Putin’s consolidation of power in Russia, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” —The Chicago Tribune

“We are living in dangerous times, Timothy Snyder argues forcefully and eloquently in his new book. . . . To understand Putin, Snyder argues persuasively, you must understand his ideas. . . . The Road to Unfreedom is a good wake-up call.” —Margaret MacMillan, The New York Times Book Review

“Deluged by ugly headlines, readers need books that force us to pause, step back and understand how America arrived at this chaotic moment. One of the best such books this year is historian Timothy Snyder’s essential, penetrating look at how toxic ideas, autocratic power and fake news spread from Russia into Ukraine, Western Europe and now to the White House. At a time when the politics of apocalypse haunt American democracy, Snyder helps unpack how we got here—and, maybe, how we can get out.” —Lucas Wittmann, TIME

"Snyder’s horror at what has happened in Russiaand at the risks to the US and Europegives his writing energy and passion. He is unsparing in his indictment of Putin’s Russia. . . .But he is also clear-eyed about the weaknesses of American society that have made the US vulnerable to Russian intervention and domestic populism." Gideon Rachman, The Financial Times

"Essential reading. . . . Chilling and unignorable." —The Guardian

“Of all the books that seek to explain the current crisis of Western liberal democracy, none is more eloquent or frightening than Snyder’s The Road to Unfreedom.” —Foreign Affairs

“Brilliant. . . . Bleak and eloquent. . . . Snyder’s account of the Trump ascendancy, and the many helping hands given from Russia, is vividly and insightfully told.” —Edward Lucas, The Times (London)

Praise for Timothy Snyder’s 
On Tyranny

“We are rapidly ripening for fascism. This American writer leaves us with no illusions about ourselves.” —Svetlana Alexievich, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
“A slim book that fits alongside your pocket Constitution and feels only slightly less vital. . . . Grounded in history yet imbued with the fierce urgency of what now.” —Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post
“Snyder reasons with unparalleled clarity, throwing the past and future into sharp relief. He has written the rare kind of book that can be read in one sitting but will keep you coming back to help regain your bearings.” —Masha Gessen, author of The Future Is History
“As Timothy Snyder explains in his fine and frightening On Tyranny, a minority party now has near-total power and is therefore understandably frightened of awakening the actual will of the people.” Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
“Snyder knows this subject cold. . . . It is impossible to read aphorisms like ‘post-truth is pre-fascism’ and not feel a small chill about the current state of the Republic.” Daniel W. Drezner, The New York Times Book Review

“Snyder draws an unbroken line between the darkest events and personalities of the past and the ones that confront us in the here and now. . . . As he did in On Tyranny, Snyder argues that we are facing a challenge of potentially catastrophic proportions, but he refuses to despair.” –Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal

Library Journal

Celebrated for books such as On Tyranny and Bloodlands, the multi-award-winning Snyder builds on his considerable knowledge of Eastern Europe and the Holocaust to explore the return of authoritarianism today, starting with Vladimir Putin's consolidation of power in Russia. Since then, as he chronicles here, authoritarian tendencies have moved west to Poland and Hungary and have cast a shadow on recent events in the United States and the UK, where deep-seated liberal values are being challenged. Especially relevant as President Trump's ties to Russia are more closely examined.

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2018-02-20
How Russia's campaign to undermine democracies threatens the European Union and the United States.In a hard-hitting analysis of current events, Snyder (History/Yale Univ.; On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, 2017, etc.) argues persuasively that Russia under is aggressively working to destabilize Western nations and export "massive inequality" and "the displacement of policy by propaganda." Beginning with the strenuous revival of totalitarian thought in 2011, Russia has widened its efforts to attack the EU and to infiltrate American politics by masterminding the election of Donald Trump. For Russia, the EU, which requires that its member countries are democratic and promote human rights, exists as an affront to its "native kleptocracy." Because "Russian state power could not increase, nor Russian technology close the gap with Europe and America," writes the author, it sought to gain "relative power" by weakening other nations. Using targeted Twitter campaigns, trolls, and bots, Russia manipulated a "lLeave" vote in the Brexit referendum and later directed its attention to working against Emmanuel Macron in France and Angela Merkel in Germany. Snyder chronicles Putin's successful influence in Trump's nomination and election: "a cyberwar to destroy the United States of America." Russian connections to Trump began in the 1990s, when Russian gangsters laundered money by buying and selling apartments in Trump Tower. Trump, who at the time was bankrupt and owed about $4 billion to more than 70 banks, welcomed funds from Russian oligarchs, who bought his properties through shell companies. The author expertly details Russian involvement in the 2016 election by Paul Manafort, who "had experience getting Russia's preferred candidates elected president"; Trump's foreign policy adviser, pro-Putin Carter Page, who became a lobbyist for Russian gas companies; and Michael Flynn. Russian use of Twitter, Facebook, and other internet sources "exploited American gullibility" and cynicism. Freedom, Snyder writes, "depends upon citizens who are able to make a distinction between what is true and what they want to hear."A highly distressing, urgent alarm to awaken Americans to the peril of authoritarianism.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940169268058
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Edition description: Unabridged

Read an Excerpt

Chapter ONE

Excerpted from "The Road to Unfreedom"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Timothy Snyder.
Excerpted by permission of Crown/Archetype.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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