The Age of the Strongman: How the Cult of the Leader Threatens Democracy Around the World

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Other Press, LLC, Apr 12, 2022 - Political Science - 288 pages
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Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The Times (UK) and Sunday Times

From Putin, Trump, and Bolsonaro to Erdoğan, Orbán, and Xi, an intimate look at the rise of strongman leaders around the world.

The first truly global treatment of the new nationalism, underpinned by an exceptional level of access to its key actors, from the award-winning journalist and author of Easternization.

This is the most urgent political story of our time: authoritarian leaders have become a central feature of global politics. Since 2000, self-styled strongmen have risen to power in capitals as diverse as Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Brasilia, Budapest, Ankara, Riyadh, and Washington. These leaders are nationalists and social conservatives, with little tolerance for minorities, dissent, or the interests of foreigners. At home, they claim to be standing up for ordinary people against globalist elites; abroad, they posture as the embodiments of their nations. And everywhere they go, they encourage a cult of personality. What’s more, these leaders are not just operating in authoritarian political systems but have begun to emerge in the heartlands of liberal democracy.

Gideon Rachman has been in the same room with most of these strongmen and reported from their countries over a long journalistic career. While others have tried to understand their rise individually, Rachman pays full attention to the widespread phenomenon and uncovers the complex and often surprising interaction among these leaders. In the process, he identifies the common themes in our local nightmares, finding global coherence in the chaos and offering a bold new paradigm for navigating our world.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This is an easy read about authoritarian strongmen who have become the living embodiment of politics in their respective countries (Russia, China), and populist strongmen who have managed to get ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Citizenjoyce - LibraryThing

"The unspoken thought... was that Trump himself had introduced some of the habits of a dictatorship into the heart of the world's greatest democracies The president's wild rhetoric, his fondness for ... Read full review


Putin the archetype 2000
Erdoğan from liberal reformer to authoritarian
Modi strongman politics in the worlds largest
Orbán Kaczynski and the rise of illiberal
Boris Johnson and Brexit Britain 2016
Donald Trump American strongman 2016
Rodrigo Duterte and the erosion of democracy
Bolsonaro Amlo and the return of
Abiy Ahmed and democratic disillusionment
Merkel Macron and Europes struggle against
Biden in the Age of the Strongman

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About the author (2022)

Gideon Rachman is chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times. He joined the FT in 2006, after 15 years at The Economist, where he served as a correspondent in Washington D.C., Brussels, and Bangkok. In 2010 Rachman published his first book, Zero Sum World, which predicted the rise in international political tensions and turmoil that followed the global financial crisis. In 2016, Rachman won the Orwell Prize, Britain’s leading award for political writing. He was also named Commentator of the year at the European Press Prize, known as the “European Pulitzers.” Rachman’s previous book, Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline From Obama to Trump and Beyond, was published by Other Press in 2018.

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