All Aboard the ARC: On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy D. Snyder (Author) and Nora Krug (Illustrator)

On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy D. Snyder (Author) and Nora Krug (Illustrator)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press in exchange for an honest review. I have not received compensation for the inclusion of any links found in this review or on any other page of The Voracious Bibliophile which mentions On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, its creators, or its publisher.***

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Review

When On Tyranny first came out in 2017…I called it the “most powerful and timely book we’ve got right now,” and I stand by that assessment.

When On Tyranny first came out in 2017, I remember reading it in my bathtub, absolutely riveted and completely terrified. I remained that way, completely terrified that is, through the remainder of Trump’s presidency up until the present day. In the short review I posted on Goodreads at the time, I called it the “most powerful and timely book we’ve got right now,” and I stand by that assessment. In it, Snyder presented us with a model of political rectitude, elucidating the present by drawing parallels from the past in the hope that we might steer ourselves toward a more just and equitable future.

Democracy does not offer roadside assistance.

To return to my terror, I suppose Snyder himself would say that an alert citizen is a good citizen, but only if that citizen is proactive rather than reactive. Like most forms of social good, democracy does not self-correct when it encounters flaws in the mechanism. The people in charge of its maintenance, which is all of us, have to pull over on the side of the road, lift up the hood, and put in a little elbow grease to fix it. To further labor the metaphor: Democracy does not offer roadside assistance.

To lessen our chances of breaking down in the first place, however, it’s important to practice good citizenship at all times, not just in times of crisis. We should advocate for the causes important to us all the time, not just during an election year. We should lobby our legislators to pass laws that strengthen our democracy, that protect human rights. We should make calls, donate when and where we can, and show up to participate with our bodies every chance we get.

I have done my best to be a proactive citizen and I’d like to think that my efforts helped us to avoid another four years of Trump, at least for the moment. I’m holding my breath thinking that putrid orange tyrant will try to run again in the next presidential election. If he does, and heaven forbid, wins, God have mercy on us all.

On my not-so-good days, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think we were doomed beyond saving, but I don’t like to back down from a fight. It’s not good for your digestion.

The good news is I’m not that much of a cynic yet. On my not-so-good days, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think we were doomed beyond saving, but I don’t like to back down from a fight. It’s not good for your digestion. Actually, I’m not sure what pugnacity does for your digestion, but I’ve always found it winsome to follow the revealing of a questionable character trait with something ameliorative to make myself more palatable.

Timothy Snyder is not only a historian of the highest echelon, but a prescient prognosticator of our possible political futures.

I was so excited when I found out that a graphic edition of Snyder’s book was being released and having now read it, I can assuredly say it did not disappoint. Timothy Snyder is not only a historian of the highest echelon, but a prescient prognosticator of our possible political futures. I intentionally used futures, plural, because our course is not set. We the people, the body politic, are the cartographers drawing the map toward our future. What the future looks like is based on the collective decisions we make today to either defend or neglect democracy. Don’t let’s make it easy for the tyrants, orange or otherwise.

We the people, the body politic, are the cartographers drawing the map toward our future. What the future looks like is based on the collective decisions we make today to either defend or neglect democracy.

Nora Krug’s illustrations are sometimes macabre and at other times breathtakingly beautiful, and sometimes they are both in equal measure. All of her illustrations are elegant in their simplicity and deftly executed on the page. Her inclusion of historical photographs, many of which were found in photo albums and other ephemera at flea markets and antique shops, add depth and pictorial veracity to Snyder’s narrative of the history of tyranny in the twentieth century.

Nora Krug’s illustrations are sometimes macabre and at other times breathtakingly beautiful, and sometimes they are both in equal measure.

Although a review is not and should not necessarily be a summary of a work, I’d like to include here the twenty lessons Snyder gives in his book, if for no other reason than to pique the interest of would-be readers.

Snyder’s Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

  1. Do not obey in advance.
  2. Defend institutions.
  3. Beware the one-party state.
  4. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
  5. Remember professional ethics.
  6. Be wary of paramilitaries.
  7. Be reflective if you must be armed.
  8. Stand out.
  9. Be kind to our language.
  10. Believe in truth.
  11. Investigate.
  12. Make eye contact and small talk.
  13. Practice corporeal politics.
  14. Establish a private life.
  15. Contribute to good causes.
  16. Learn from peers in other countries.
  17. Listen for dangerous words.
  18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
  19. Be a patriot.
  20. Be as courageous as you can.

© 2017, 2021 Timothy Snyder. All rights reserved.

On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century was released by Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press on October 5th, 2021 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 19th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

Now, as we reach the apex of hyper-capitalism that makes it harder and harder for white men to hold out hope that all they’ve been promised will actually be theirs, we see their desperation lead to terrorism, self-harm, and the catastrophic destruction of our environment. How many more mass shootings will we be able to endure? How many more economic recessions? How much more climate crisis? How many more wars? How many more pandemics? How many more people can live in poverty? How many more of us can go without healthcare? How many more can be locked away in prisons? I don’t think we can withstand much more. I don’t think we are withstanding what is happening right now. We are coming apart as we grow increasingly polarized and as our power structures work to further insulate themselves from any responsibility to the people they claim to serve. We are running out of time to fix this. I have to believe that it’s not too late and I hope you believe that too because we have so much to do.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 18th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

We must ask ourselves what we are willing to give up in order to be free.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 17th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

There is a segment of the white American population that has always viewed Black dissent as a threat to white safety and security. Since the election of Obama and the increase in protests around the country over the killing of unarmed Black people by police, white anxiety over Black empowerment had increased to a level that many of us had not seen in our lifetimes. Trump gave his angry crowds a prime target against which to vent their fury and anxiety by painting Black Americans as simply ungrateful for the opportunities they had been granted.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 15th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

Black women who make history are often written out of it.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

I especially love this chapter in Ijeoma Oluo’s book because she talks about one of American history’s oft-neglected public servants, Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005). She was the first Black woman elected to the United States House of Representatives, serving New York’s 12th congressional district from 1969 to 1983. She was also the first Black American to run for President of the United States. She sought the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 1972 presidential election and while she did not get the nomination, she changed the landscape of American politics forever.

Hers was a grassroots activism centering the interests and issues of all Americans, especially those occupying marginalized identities and living in communities disenfranchised by the white male elite. She was able to bring together a broad coalition of people to fight toward a more just and perfect Union, the one idealized by the Founders who failed to see people who looked like Chisholm as fully-human.

Hers [Chisholm’s] was a grassroots activism centering the interests and issues of all Americans, especially those occupying marginalized identities and living in communities disenfranchised by the white male elite.

The legacy of Shirley Chisholm reverberates throughout American politics. She paved the way for other BIPOC women who wanted to run for public office by providing them with a framework showing it was possible. Yvonne Brathwaite. Barbara Jordan. Maxine Waters. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ayanna Pressley. Kamala Harris. Shirley Chisholm paved the way for all of them.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 14th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

It is not simply that many white Americans do not care, it is that many white Americans are so invested in the political exclusion of people who are not white men that they will actively work against any political change that would meaningfully enfranchise women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and disabled people, even when they are aware of the potential cost to their own well-being. Many have decided that the psychological benefit of looking at government and seeing a roomful of white men is worth the very real cost to their financial and physical welfare. Somehow, even though history has shown that it is not the case, many white Americans are still able to convince themselves that listening to the same people they’ve always listened to will pay off for them in the end.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 13th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

It is psychologically damaging to never see yourself reflected in positions of leadership in your own country. It limits our feeling of citizenship and it limits the possibilities we see for ourselves and our children. It creates a feeling of unsafety.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 12th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

Even if we can’t guarantee that every woman promoted to CEO will outperform her male counterpart in company growth or profitability, the important benefits for workplaces and the broader society of elevating women to positions of power will always be worth the risk.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 11th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

Workplaces that devalue traits and skills like empathy, communication, and cooperation, which women are more likely to be socialized to have, almost always overvalue traits like hyper-competitiveness, aggression, and impulsiveness, which men are more likely to be socialized to have, even when those characteristics harm a work environment.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 10th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

The thing about anger is that it needs a home.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Sadly, the home of so much white cishet male anger is the bodies of the marginalized. When the powerful feel threatened, when the powerful are angry, they act as aggressors toward people and groups who have less power than they do so they can reaffirm their status as masters of the universe, if only in their own eyes.

That’s why Donald Trump was the answer to Barack Obama. That’s why Jim Crow was the answer to emancipation. That’s why for every inch gained in equality by a marginalized group, the privileged group forced to give up a modicum of their social superiority attempts to reclaim back a mile. Their anger, their vitriol, makes Black, brown, and queer bodies the sites of violence of an unspeakable magnitude. But this should not stop us from fighting for justice. If anything, it should galvanize us to press harder, to stand in the gap of our siblings’ oppressions.

We are all of us complicit in systems which oppress, malign, and disenfranchise our fellow citizens, and it is high time we surrendered our comfort for accountability and our silence for truth and justice.

I once read somewhere on Twitter that the place at which your privilege intersects with another person’s oppression is the part of the system you have the power to destroy. The work of dismantling white supremacy and toxic patriarchy is work that belongs to all of us, but especially to those of us who hold the most privilege. We are all of us complicit in systems which oppress, malign, and disenfranchise our fellow citizens, and it is high time we surrendered our comfort for accountability and our silence for truth and justice.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.