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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Snyder is concerned that America might fall towards tyranny of a dictator, and so he collects twenty lessons that America should internalize to avoid this path. In many ways, it captures the progressive fear of Trump in 2017 quite well. To that end, it's an interesting (and exceedingly short) read. The lessons themselves hit me as overall fine — 5 years later, if anything, we've learned that the US government is so much bigger than a single President. Perhaps his fears are founded, and the lessons seem overall useful and positive. But, overall, it felt sort of like a book written for classical liberals to make themselves feel good about their choices and political beliefs. Perhaps what it wanted to convince me of I already mostly believed? Perhaps it felt too fearful?


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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