Yale News recently published a review of Jackson history professor Timothy Snyder’s new book, “On Tyranny.” The piece, “Yale historian shares ‘sobering’ analysis of the past, and an action plan for the present, in new book,” was published on March 16, 2017. Professor Snyder will host a book talk at Sterling Memorial Library on Monday, April 3, at 4:30pm. See details

An excerpt appears below. Read the full version on Yale News

“History does not repeat itself, but it does instruct.” With those words Yale historian Timothy Snyder introduced readers to his new book, “On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century.”

Snyder has focused his research on the darker chapters of European history — the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s — and has examined how republics collapse, how authoritarian regimes emerge, and the roots of political atrocities.

Those are Snyder’s “starting points” when he looks at what is happening in American politics today, he says.

“Because I’m American, I am able to look at what is happening in the American government from a broader range of viewpoints, which comes from what I research and what I see in my day-to-day life.” It is based on those two viewpoints — that of a historian and as an American — that he chose to write a book on America 20 lessons for the 20th century, he says.

“You have to have some deeper anchoring which allows you to declare to yourself that [what is happening with the new presidency] is not normal,” says Snyder, “and that instead of taking a wait-and-see approach, it is important to take action, even in a small way, every day.”

Read the full review

Timothy Snyder photo
Timothy Snyder
Timothy Snyder is one of the leading American historians and public intellectuals, and enjoys perhaps greater prominence in Europe, the subject of most of his work. He is the Richard Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.