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From the Samuel Johnson Prize-winning author of Mao's Great Famine, a sweeping and timely study of twentieth-century dictators and the development of the modern cult of personality. 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. In the twentieth century, as new technologies allowed leaders to place their image and voice directly into their citizens' homes, a new phenomenon appeared where dictators exploited the cult of personality to achieve the illusion of popular approval without ever having to resort to elections. In How to Be a Dictator, Frank Dikötter examines the cults and propaganda surrounding twentieth-century dictators, from Hitler and Stalin to Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung. These men were the founders of modern dictatorships, and they learned from each other and from history to build their regimes and maintain their public images. Their dictatorships, in turn, have influenced leaders in the twenty-first century, including Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Using a breadth of archival research and his characteristic in-depth analysis, Dikötter offers a stunning portrait of dictatorship, a guide to the cult of personality, and a map for exposing the lies dictators tell to build and maintain their regimes.
In these elegant essays, many of them originally written for The New Republic and Harper's, Robert Boyers examines the role of the political imagination in shaping the works of such important contemporary writers as W. G. Sebald and Philip Roth, Nadine Gordimer and Mario Vargas Llosa, Natalia Ginzburg and Pat Barker, J. M. Coetzee and John Updike, V. S. Naipaul and Anita Desai. Occasionally he finds that politics actually figures very little in works that only pretend to be interested in politics. Elsewhere he discovers that certain writers are not equal to the political issues they take on or that their work is fatally compromised by complacency or wishful thinking. In the main, though, Boyers writes as a lover of great literature who wishes to understand how the best writers do justice to their own political obsessions without suggesting that everything is reducible to politics. Resisting the notion that novels can be effectively translated into ideas or positions, he resists as well the notion that art and politics must be held apart, lest works of fiction somehow be contaminated by their association with "real life" or public issues. The essays offer a combination of close reading, argument, and assessment. What, Boyers asks, is the relationship between form and substance in a work whose formal properties are particularly striking? Is it reasonable to think of a particular writer as "reactionary" merely because he presents an unflattering portrait of revolutionary activists or because he is less than optimistic about the future of newly independent societies? What is the status of private life in works set in politically tumultuous times? Can the novelist be "responsible" if he consistently refuses to engage the conditions that affect even the intimate lives of his characters? Such questions inform these essays, which strive to be true to the essential spirit of the works they discuss and to interrogate, as sympathetically as possible, the imagination of writers who negotiate the unstable relationships between society and the individual, art and ideas.
What would YOU do if you had the most powerful position of leadership in the free world? Beyond congress, even beyond president, the Dictator of America must be unbiased and thorough in legislation and execution of duties to maintain the foundational freedoms of our wonderful nation. This book addresses issues that demand such action. The context will help crystallize the deep and powerful but almost repressed convictions of conservative Americans of every degree, status, and race. In paperback and hardcover, Dictator of America can be ordered from Xlibris or the author (via the "Contact Author" page). Autographed copies are available from the author.
A groundbreaking new theory of the real rules of politics: leaders do whatever keeps them in power, regardless of the national interest. As featured on the viral video Rules for Rulers, which has been viewed over 3 million times. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith's canonical book on political science turned conventional wisdom on its head. They started from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don't care about the "national interest"-or even their subjects-unless they have to. This clever and accessible book shows that democracy is essentially just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only in the number of essential supporters, or backs that need scratching. The size of this group determines almost everything about politics: what leaders can get away with, and the quality of life or misery under them. The picture the authors paint is not pretty. But it just may be the truth, which is a good starting point for anyone seeking to improve human governance.
Argentine Caudillo: Juan Manuel de Rosas, is John Lynch's new edition of his 1981 book, shortened for classroom use. The figure of Juan Manual de Rosas dominates the history of Argentina in the first half of the nineteenth century. Charles Darwin, who met him on campaign against the Indians, described him as "a man of extraordinary character," the lord of vast estates and, for over twenty years, absolute ruler of Buenos Aires and its province. The book follows the career of Rosas as a classical caudillo, who rescued his people from fear and anarchy and delivered them into the hands of a great dictatorship. Leader of the gauchos, yet representative too of the powerful landed proprietors and cattle exporters, Rosas established an early prototype of a totalitarian state and employed systematic terror to defend his rule. Argentine Caudillo: Juan Manuel de Rosas is an excellent scholarly and objective modern history for students as well as scholars on this powerful figure in Latin America.
Ever wonder if the world's tyrants are all using the same instruction manual? They are: here it is. From getting to power to dividing your enemies, suppressing revolution, stealing elections, and making your fortune, this 320 page volume shows you how the pros have been doing it for centuries. Fully factual, with a complete bibliography and footnotes, the Dictator's Handbook gives you a road map to tyranny, step by step. Beautifully illustrated by a professional artist, the text is funny and deadly serious. This is truly a practical manual for the aspiring tyrant.