Cover Image: On Tyranny Graphic Edition

On Tyranny Graphic Edition

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“On Tyranny” has been on my to read list for a while so I was excited to see a graphic novel version was available on NetGalley. While this book does offer many important lessons, I went in with some preconceptions that ended up making this a disappointment. 

To start with, it is not a graphic novel. It is more of an elaborately illustrated, abridged version of the novel. That would be fine but often the illustrations detracted instead of illuminated. Once every dozen pages or so the illustration combined with the layout resulted in me not reading the text in the right order or skipping over words or sentences that appeared to be part of the illustration but were a continuation of the text. Confusing. 

Another issue for me was that I didn’t know the subtitle of the original was “Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century”. That twentieth century part was key as most of the examples were from Nazi Germany with an occasional Stalin thrown in. I was interested in seeing examples from a wider array of times and places, especially non-Western examples. 

In the end, the license expired before I could finish which is indicative of my level of interest for this title. Had my preconceptions been different going into it, I would not have been as disappointed. I’ll likely just check out the novel as I found that this graphic version didn’t add much.
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Innovative and fresh format to the way you usually see graphic novels. The story line was interesting.
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If the terror of having a near-tinpot-dicator for president, these past for years, has not taught us anything, this heavily illustrated version of the book On Tyranny, should point to all the things that we may have mistaken for mere politics, to be something much, much darker.

Using the Nazis and the Stalin era of the USSR, the author points to all the signs we should be looking for in our politics to keep dictatorships from happening under our noses.

All the examples are too familiar, and too real.

A chilling book, but in a good way. A way that makes you stop and think about how you react when it happens to you.

Highly recommended.

<em> Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review</em>
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An excellent explanation of the political moment and its historical context.  In the future, it may be used to show students what this period was like, since it will be impossible to imagine with the benefit of hindsight that they will have.
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A fantastic adaptation of On Tyranny in a beautifully designed and illustrated version. Pages individually can be a bit text-heavy, but for serious readers, this is a goo way to read it. Highly recommended
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I have been meaning to read the original version of this text, but I'm actually glad I ended up reading this graphic novel edition as I felt that the illustrations really added to it. On Tyranny is a book of "lessons for surviving and resisting America's arc toward authoritarianism" that has only become more relevant since the original's publication in 2017. Referencing historical European descents into authoritarianism, Snyder provides rules to resisting the same fate in America, accompanied by Krug's stunning visual art. This is not a traditional graphic novel as much as an illustrated text, but I wouldn't count that as a negative as much as something to know to expect when reading it. 

Although this was hard to read at times because of the gnawing anxiety that I feel at the future of our country, I think this is important reading and I think Snyder offers reasonable and strong suggestions for (most) people resisting tyranny. I may not have agreed with everything in the book but I still think it is a strong work that has been enhanced with Krug's visuals.
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Builds off the solid foundation of the original. Most of the art enhances the text and points being discussed, but occasionally the images distract or make following the text flow more challenging than it needed to be. The overall message is just as applicable now, if not more so, than when first published.
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Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Especially if it's going on right now in front of you. And the book reminding you of this fact is illustrated and actively compares the early rise of the Nazi party to things happening on the news.
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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Graphic Edition) by Timothy Snyder and Nora Krug (Illustrations) is a very, very good account of a critical topic. Tyranny, a state humanity seems to find itself in a little too regularly.

Author Timothy Snyder is a Professor of History at Yale University, with that comes a certain amount of expertise. The artist, Nora Krug illustrates this beautifully as she keeps this snappy book visually engaging, I found the artwork here totally immersive.

The book takes us through the 20 lessons on Tyranny. These include topics such as:

•	Do not obey in advance
•	Beware the one-party state
•	Be wary of paramilitaries
•	Be kind to our language
•	Remember professional ethics

The only issue I have with this clever book is the repeated barbs directed at the previous President of the USA. In my view, these are completely justified. The problem is, as soon as supporters of this buffoon catch on – they will label this as ‘fake news’ (I can’t believe I just typed those words), they will then switch on Fox News, ‘huff and puff’ and remain blind to its important messages. It practically makes this important work inaccessible to the target audience, the cohort who will get the most out of this are those who least need to grasp the important messages contain within.

However, this is a terrific and essential read – it should be mandatory reading in schools.

4 Stars
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On Tyranny uses examples from European history to show how democracies have fallen in the past. It includes twenty rules to follow here in the US to avoid the same fate.

The text is from a book published in 2017. The illustrations are new. Though this book is labeled The Graphic Edition, it is not in a traditional graphic novel format. Rather, the illustrations are used very effectively to drive home the main points in the text.

If you haven’t read On Tyranny before, by all means pick up this version. The illustrations really break up the text in a good way. The rules make sense. However, there is a distinctly anti-MAGA bias within this book. So, if you are pro-Trump, this book could be a difficult read. For everyone else, 4 stars!

Thanks to Ten Speed Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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A stellar graphic treatment by Nora Krug (winner of the National Book Critics Circle award for Autobiography for 2018's BELONGING) gives Snyder's essential ON TYRANNY an extra measure of impact in this new and unforgettable edition. Sketches, watercolors, photographs, paper cutouts, and vintage ephemera combine with hand lettering not so much to illustrate Snyder's precepts as to amplify them. Snyder's text on "shamanistic incantation," for example, is aptly embellished with comics-style panels in which an unnamed but recognizably Hillary Clinton-like profile gradually morphs into that of a monster; the gradual folding of a sketch of a human head into a blank-eyed mask accompanies passages about dehumanization, while a discussion of the importance of privacy is shaped around an image of a house behind which an oversized huge face looks out on the world. As these examples suggest, Krug's imagery for the book is often disquieting and sometimes grotesque, as is apt for a book that speaks so powerfully about distortion. Yet with their combination of apparently childlike simplicity and deep insight and their contrasts in color, layout and motif, Krug's pages are hauntingly beautiful as well. This is one of those amalgams of words and images that feels both totally surprising and utterly, perfectly inevitable.
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The graphic novel version of Timothy Snyder’s original book, should be required reading for all citizens, and read to all citizens unable to read it for themselves.  The layout, color, and illustrations make the history of tyranny in the 20th century highly accessible reading. It should be a supplementary text for every history or civics courses from grade 5 on. Snyder cites  examples of societal-scale conformist and complacent  behaviors  (anticipatory obedience) that made the rise of fascism in Italy, communism in Russia, and of course, Nazism in  Germany, along with more contemporary authoritarianism  regimes, possible. He provides twenty lessons from that era could mitigate the current creeping (and hopefully not inevitable) authoritarianism trajectory  in the United States, if the majority of citizens took it seriously. He shows how citizens of the past did not. With  the majority of states with GOP legislatures seeking to make voting more difficult, will the 2022 or 2024 elections become the last time U.S. voters have the opportunity to vote in free elections? #NetGalley
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This book is absolutely fascinating. I’ve never seen a book like this before. It examines present America through the lens of history at a very detailed level. The book is very informative while being deeply evocative. I really like how this book provided very concrete action steps readers can do to work against tyranny. I found the recommendations sensible, surprising and accomplishable.
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A wonderful book for political literacy of masses. As distinction between truth and false fail, we live in a world of opinions. To know what is truth is of utmost importance. This book teaches naive minds , how to catch the misdoings of government and regime. It tells twenty things that are to be kept in toolkit to understand world. Accompanying illustrations are wonderful. As everyone is affected by politics upheaval vso it is a very important book for everyone. It is simple and interesting book.
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Snyder's book is "only" a compact overview of mainly European history, but he applies the conclusions to today's America: So on the one hand, what he writes shouldn't come as a surprise, on the other hand, I'm a German and I suppose people outside Europe might not know all of this - plus, unfortunately, there are still people everywhere, including here in Europe, who, millions of dead bodies later, still did not get the memo. Snyder makes a compelling case and he presents his lessons in a captivating way - the only exception being the one about the digital world, because while he is certainly right that the internet is not a safe place in an authoritarian state, not having an internet presence and thus not feeding data to the machine is basically not an option in our world: How to solve this challenge is a real conundrum.

This graphic edition elevates Snyder's text to a whole new level, as Nora Krug is just a wonderful illustrator who manages to turn difficult topics into inspired artwork (see Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home).

A beautiful, insightful book that certainly makes for a great gift as well.
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I loved the regular print edition of On Tyranny and this graphic edition just elevates it. The art style is simple yet so confronting which is telling of the talent of the artist since it’s not easy. Amazing.
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I was curious about this book because I love Nora Krug's drawings but haven't really loved what I've read by Timothy Snyder in the past, mostly because it seemed to dumb down historical events. I still have that problem here: it's super accessible but often at the expense of substance, whereas I think a really good graphic political history (Gord Hill, Guy Delisle, the Graphic History Collective) can distill information without oversimplifying. But in general I do think the graphic format suits the text quite well here, and there were parts that I found genuinely moving, largely in thanks to Krug's stunning work.
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A fantastic read, not only for the mind, but for the eye too. A lot of important thoughts and points on political regimes. I just with that I could have sent it to my Kindle - it would have been easier than reading on lap-top. I will have to get this in print!
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This illustrated lesson about the ways in which Tyranny will seep into society perfectly balanced the nuanced information with striking visuals. The information clearly depicted historical and immediately recent examples of tyranny at work as and clear information on how to combat it. Amazing work by both the author and the artist.
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If I'm a reader with any sort of "influence," I can say with near certainty that the book I've influenced others to pick up the most is Timothy Snyder's 2017 publication, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. 

Snyder is a professor at Yale and a historian of fascism, and On Tyranny is a 126-page guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn towards authoritarianism. I read it cover-to-cover twice in one sitting and then did something I almost never do - posted about it on my personal social media pages. While the book is unabashedly opposed to the 45th president of the United States (never mentioned by name), I have seen firsthand how its lessons have resonated with my friends on both sides of the aisle. 

The lessons are:
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. DO NOT BLINDLY POST MEMES AND GRAPHICS AND OTHER FALSE CRAP ALL OVER THE INTERNET WITHOUT RESEARCHING THEIR SOURCES AND VALIDITY FIRST!!!!!!!
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. 

For reasons not entirely clear to me, On Tyranny has now been given the graphic edition treatment where the text is interspersed with collage-style illustrations and photos. Art is of course subjective, but the style presented here struck me as a little rough and, for lack of a better word, odd. I still absolutely recommend the lessons being conveyed, though I'm not sure this spoonful of sugar will help the medicine go down any easier than the original text. 

On Tyranny (2017) = 5 stars
Graphic Edition update (2021) = 3 stars
= 4 stars

My thanks to Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press for the opportunity to review an advance edition via NetGalley. On Tyranny Graphic Edition is slated for US publication on October 5, 2021.
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