The Infernal Library
Author: Daniel Kalder
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
A harrowing tour of “dictator literature” in the twentieth-century, featuring the soul-killing prose and poetry of Hitler, Mao, and many more, which shows how books have sometimes shaped the world for the worse. Since the days of the Roman Empire dictators have written books. But in the twentieth-century despots enjoyed unprecedented print runs to (literally) captive audiences. The titans of the genre—Stalin, Mussolini, and Khomeini among them—produced theoretical works, spiritual manifestos, poetry, memoirs, and even the occasional romance novel and established a literary tradition of boundless tedium that continues to this day. How did the production of literature become central to the running of regimes? What do these books reveal about the dictatorial soul? And how can books and literacy, most often viewed as inherently positive, cause immense and lasting harm? Putting daunting research to revelatory use, Daniel Kalder asks and brilliantly answers these questions. Marshalled upon the beleaguered shelves of The Infernal Library are the books and commissioned works of the century’s most notorious figures. Their words led to the deaths of millions. Their conviction in the significance of their own thoughts brooked no argument. It is perhaps no wonder then, as Kalder argues, that many dictators began their careers as writers.
Author: Peter York
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Originally published: Great Britain: Atlantic Books, 2005.
Children of Monsters
Author: Jay Nordlinger
Publisher: Encounter Books
What’s it like to be the son or daughter of a dictator? A monster on the Stalin level? What’s it like to bear a name synonymous with oppression, terror, and evil? Jay Nordlinger set out to answer that question, and does so in this book. He surveys 20 dictators in all. They are the worst of the worst: Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on. The book is not about them, really, though of course they figure in it. It’s about their children. Some of them are absolute loyalists. They admire, revere, or worship their father. Some of them actually succeed their father as dictator—as in North Korea, Syria, and Haiti. Some of them have doubts. A couple of them become full-blown dissenters, even defectors. A few of the daughters have the experience of having their husband killed by their father. Most of these children are rocked by war, prison, exile, or other upheaval. Obviously, the children have things in common. But they are also individuals, making of life what they can. The main thing they have in common is this: They have been dealt a very, very unusual hand. What would you do, if you were the offspring of an infamous dictator, who lords it over your country? An early reader of this book said, “There’s an opera on every page”: a drama, a tragedy (or even a comedy). Another reader said he had read the chapter on Bokassa “with my eyes on stalks.” Meet these characters for yourself. Marvel, shudder, and ponder.
This book explores the roots of reverence and admiration expressed by many distinguished Western intellectuals for ruthless dictators.
Author: Randall Wood, Carmine DeLuca
Publisher: Randall Wood
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.
Author: Roger Moorhouse
Looks at the diverse unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler, profiles the various conspirators involved in the incidents, and speculates about the potential global ramifications if one of the attempts had been successful. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
In this riveting anatomy of authoritarianism, acclaimed journalist William Dobson takes us inside the battle between dictators and those who would challenge their rule. Recent history has seen an incredible moment in the war between dictators and democracy—with waves of protests sweeping Syria and Yemen, and despots falling in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. But the Arab Spring is only the latest front in a global battle between freedom and repression, a battle that, until recently, dictators have been winning hands-down. The problem is that today’s authoritarians are not like the frozen-in-time, ready-to-crack regimes of Burma and North Korea. They are ever-morphing, technologically savvy, and internationally connected, and have replaced more brutal forms of intimidation with subtle coercion. The Dictator’s Learning Curve explains this historic moment and provides crucial insight into the fight for democracy.
Why our workplaces are authoritarian private governments—and why we can't see it One in four American workers says their workplace is a "dictatorship." Yet that number probably would be even higher if we recognized most employers for what they are—private governments with sweeping authoritarian power over our lives, on duty and off. We normally think of government as something only the state does, yet many of us are governed far more—and far more obtrusively—by the private government of the workplace. In this provocative and compelling book, Elizabeth Anderson argues that the failure to see this stems from long-standing confusions. These confusions explain why, despite all evidence to the contrary, we still talk as if free markets make workers free—and why so many employers advocate less government even while they act as dictators in their businesses. In many workplaces, employers minutely regulate workers' speech, clothing, and manners, leaving them with little privacy and few other rights. And employers often extend their authority to workers' off-duty lives. Workers can be fired for their political speech, recreational activities, diet, and almost anything else employers care to govern. Yet we continue to talk as if early advocates of market society—from John Locke and Adam Smith to Thomas Paine and Abraham Lincoln—were right when they argued that it would free workers from oppressive authorities. That dream was shattered by the Industrial Revolution, but the myth endures. Private Government offers a better way to talk about the workplace, opening up space for discovering how workers can enjoy real freedom. Based on the prestigious Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values, Private Government is edited and introduced by Stephen Macedo and includes commentary by cultural critic David Bromwich, economist Tyler Cowen, historian Ann Hughes, and philosopher Niko Kolodny.
The Dictator's Handbook
Author: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith
Explains the theory of political survival, particularly in cases of dictators and despotic governments, arguing that political leaders seek to stay in power using any means necessary, most commonly by attending to the interests of certain coalitions.
A serious introduction to the use of nonviolent action to topple dictatorships. Based on the author's study, over a period of forty years, on non-violent methods of demonstration, it was originally published in 1993 in Thailand for distribution among Burmese dissidents.
Talk of the Devil
Author: Riccardo Orizio
Inspired by newspaper clippings he had kept about two former African dictators accused of cannibalism, journalist Riccardo Orizio set out to track down tyrants around the world who had fallen from power—to see if they had gained any perspective on their actions, or if their lives and thoughts could shed any light on our own. The seven encounters chronicled in Talk of the Devil reveal Orizio’s gift as an observer and his skill at getting people to reveal themselves. They are also, each of them, memorable stories in their own right. Thanks to his conversion to Islam, the unrepentant Idi Amin lives in exile in Saudi Arabia and laughs off his murderous past while still attempting to meddle in Uganda. Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the bloody former emperor of Central Africa, boasts astonishingly that Pope Paul VI had nominated him as the thirteenth apostle of the Catholic Church. Nexhmije Hoxha defends her husband’s brutal Stalinist regime from her Albanian prison cell and proudly explains how it worked. Paris-based Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier—in his first interview since fleeing Haiti in 1986—speaks about voodoo and the women of his life, and laments the loss of his fortune. Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam of Ethiopia, Mira Markovic (Slobodan Milosevic’s wife), and General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the former Polish head of state, all claim, in one way or another, that history will do them justice. By turns chilling and comical, rational and absurd, Talk of the Devil brings back into focus forgotten history and people we have viewed as evil incarnate. Stripped of their power and titles, they are oddly human, and in Orizio’s hands, their stories, and his own, are compulsively readable.
Author: Daniel Kalder
Few may realise that the leader of Turkmenistan a man who once renamed bread after his own mother wrote his own holy book, which is required reading before taking a driving test. It is a book of such time-quaking importance that the month of September was renamed in its honour. Countless historians have dedicated decades of their lives to minutely detailing the atrocities perpetrated by the twentieth century 's most notorious dictators. And yet one area of tyrannical infamy has been shockingly neglected these men 's crimes against literature. Between them, they produced theoretical works, spiritual manifestos, poetry collections, memoirs and even the occasional romance novel, establishing a literary tradition of soul-crushing tedium that continues to this day.What do these books reveal about the dictatorial soul' How did the production of literature become central to the running of their regimes' A journey to the end of the literary night, combining mind-bending explorations of the avant-garde of boredom with history, politics and biography and leavened with a darkly humorous wit Dictator Literature is the true story of the worst books in the world.