Twilight of Democracy

Twilight of Democracy

The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends

Summary

A FINANCIAL TIMES, ECONOMIST AND NEW STATESMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020

'The most important non-fiction book of the year' David Hare

In the years just before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, people from across the political spectrum in Europe and America celebrated a great achievement, felt a common purpose and, very often, forged personal friendships. Yet over the following decades the euphoria evaporated, the common purpose and centre ground gradually disappeared, extremism rose once more and eventually - as this book compellingly relates - the relationships soured too.

Anne Applebaum traces this history in an unfamiliar way, looking at the trajectories of individuals caught up in the public events of the last three decades. When politics becomes polarized, which side do you back? If you are a journalist, an intellectual, a civic leader, how do you deal with the re-emergence of authoritarian or nationalist ideas in your country? When your leaders appropriate history, or pedal conspiracies, or eviscerate the media and the judiciary, do you go along with it?

Twilight of Democracy is an essay that combines the personal and the political in an original way and brings a fresh understanding to the dynamics of public life in Europe and America, both now and in the recent past.

Reviews

  • Applebaum's reflections on the anti-democratic pandemic sweeping our world offer an extraordinary mix of personal witness and dispassionate historical analysis.... It's unlikely that anyone will ever give us more sensitive or revealing insights on this question
    John Connelly, New Statesman

About the author

Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum is the author of Gulag: A History, which won the Pulitzer Prize, of Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956, which won the Cundill Prize and Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine which won the Lionel Gelber and Duff Cooper prizes. She is a columnist for The Atlantic and a senior fellow of the Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. She divides her time between Britain, Poland and the USA.
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