The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Snyder's straightforward and perceptive book is what he calls "an attempt to win back historical time." He is calling for political choice and action, supported by the rule of law and opposed by national mythologies that encourage anti-democratic forces, either by appealing to a mythical, perfect past or to the inviolable continuity of the status quo. Snyder's history of these ideas and their weaponization by Russia against Europe and the United States is chilling, but his insistence on the power of historical witness by journalists and engaged citizens makes this an optimistic and empowering read. -Wes

— From Spring Booknotes 2018


From the author of On Tyranny comes a stunning new chronicle of the rise of authoritarianism from Russia to Europe and America.

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 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.

About the Author

Timothy Snyder is the Levin Professor of History at Yale University and the author of On Tyranny, Black Earth, and Bloodlands. His work has received the literature award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hannah Arendt Prize, and the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525574460
ISBN-10: 0525574468
Publisher: Tim Duggan Books
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018
Pages: 368
Language: English