The past is another country, the old saying goes. The same might be said of the future. But which country? For Europeans and Americans today, the answer is Russia.
Today's Russia is an oligarchy propped up by illusions and repression. But it also represents the fulfilment of tendencies already present in the West. And if Moscow's drive to dissolve Western states and values succeeds, this could become our reality, too.
In this visionary work of contemporary history, Timothy Snyder shows how Russia works within the West to destroy the West: by supporting the far right in Europe, invading Ukraine in 2014, and waging a cyberwar during the 2016 presidential campaign and the EU referendum. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the creation of Donald Trump, an American failure deployed as a Russian weapon.
But this threat presents an opportunity to better understand the pillars of our freedoms, confront our own complacency and seek renewal. History never ends, and this new challenge forces us to face the choices that will determine the future: equality or oligarchy, individualism or totalitarianism, truth or lies.
The Road to Unfreedom helps us to see our world as if for the first time. It is necessary listening for any citizen of a democracy.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Wras on 22-04-18
From Russian communism to Russian fascism & chaos
Essential and a must read, the best nonfiction book of 2018
A nation that has never had actual freedom grows to create a culture that distrusts the very idea of democracy and individual rights; it has no place in its soul or in the very institutions that hold it together, and such a nation has been an empire it sees this very fact as a successful formula, a reason to conquer to dominate.
This book is the best book I have read about modern Russia aspirations and the philosophy that propels fuels its motivations. It will appear entirely alien to a western mind as it grows out a totalitarian logic and has been rumbling better minds than mine from the beginning of the century. We have never understood the power of a culture too reshape an ideology into its own soul and how that influence acts like a prism that separates and reconfigures the source. Marx had an idea, and it was implemented in Russia, and it mutated by Russia and its imperial past into a nightmarish totalitarian view that we in the west call Stalinism, but it was Russian communism; lamentably it was the only example of communism that spread through the world with the same nightmarish consequences. Now we have a Russian version of fascism inspired by the motherland and by Ivan Ilyin and put to practice by Putin, some of you will have spotted the similarities to the old Russian Soviet similarities and thought that you were looking for a continuation; the only continuation here is the Russian justification to grow in power and the nationalistic need to impose it.
The book deals first with the philosophy and the adoption of it into Putin's new Russia; we move into the history of it's in implementation and how it has been utilised in various military conflicts and how it has developed into an asymmetric form of warfare with the west and its institutions. The penetration of the American model and the destabilisation of Europe are discussed and explained in chronological order.
Russia does not need to win a conventional war if it can destabilise our nations from within by supporting the extremes and the growth of conspiracy theories that make impossible, ordinary logical discourse or understanding of reality, the examples and proof have all been provided in smaller conflicts and are described in greater detail, including cyber attacks to entire nations that have been very effective.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Alan R on 09-05-18
One of the few times I wish there was a sixth star
I finished this in just two sessions. Thank God for holidays, as it meant the peace to give this the attention it deserves.
Within 30 minutes of starting it, I had recommended it to a friend.
A relatively complex topic, explained with great clarity and precision.
A truly excellent book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Christian R. Unger on 15-05-18
Very dense but also accessible
A rather complex but accessible web of the way Russia attempts to exert influence around the world through disinformation. Clearly well researched, thoughtfully presented and just downright fascinating. The one thing that I keep pondering is how many are unwillingly made to carry out this agenda vs who is aware.
Well performed although some of the German words were clearly off but not that many in here and it did not grate.
Very interesting and very well presented.