Title: How to be a Dictator
Authors: Dikotter, Frank
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 274
Year: 2019
Language: English
Description: Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, Ceausescu, Mengistu of Ethiopia and Duvalier of Haiti.

No dictator can rule through fear and violence alone. Naked power can be grabbed and held temporarily, but it never suffices in the long term. The paradox of the modern dictator is that he must create the illusion of popular support.

Frank Dikoetter returns to eight of the most chillingly effective personality cults of the twentieth century. From carefully choreographed parades to the deliberate cultivation of a shroud of mystery through iron censorship, these dictators ceaselessly worked on their own image and encouraged the population at large to glorify them. At a time when democracy is in retreat, are we seeing a revival of the same techniques among some of today's world leaders?

This timely study, told with great narrative verve, examines how a cult takes hold, grows, and sustains itself. It places the cult of personality where it belongs, at the very heart of tyranny. [Taken from book cover, Bloomsbury Publishing]

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Impartial, easy reading. I was surprised that it was so engrossing."

"Most of the dictators portrayed are household names – it's fascinating to read about things that were happening in our lifetimes."

"The chapters are shortish and well-focussed and give clear pictures of the rise, brutality and fall of these dictators."

"Required reading for every citizen perhaps, but I'm not so sure it would be a good discussion book."

"I think most groups that enjoy non-fiction will find this book compelling – even if they only read half of it!

"Chillingly defined steps by which the eight men seized and retained power."

"Good descriptions of personality traits - and many being so similar!"

"The sheer number of executions ordered by some dictators was chilling reading."

Categories: Non fiction, Biography, 2022 Titles - Coming Soon


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