Cover Image: On Tyranny Graphic Edition

On Tyranny Graphic Edition

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Great graphic update to an already great book. Highly pertinent to our current conversations and a super fast read that does not cut out important details. Highly recommend as a good primer or must-have reference.
Was this review helpful?
I've read On Tyranny when it came out in 2017 and I thought it was easy to read and brilliantly written especially given the period of time where we are at. With its colorful illustrations, On Tyranny Graphic Edition is a creative way to teach historical references and important lessons. It definitely adds value and good material to be used in schools.
Was this review helpful?
This was just so excellent. It should be required reading in every middle and high school. The graphic novel edition takes Snyder's text on how tyrannical governments get power -- and how to resist -- and makes it even more accessible. Definitely going to be gifting this!
Was this review helpful?
I really liked how the graphics added to the text through a mixture of illustration and photography. I thought it really brought the subject matter to life and made for a quick, engaging read. I thought it was a little weird how it referred to Trump as "an American president" and the focus only on European democracies, but those were things that were done in the original edition as well and aren't just specific to the graphic edition.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC of the graphic edition of On Tyranny.

This graphic edition of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder and illustrated by Nora Krug is so incredibly timely and important. Although it is very focused on the US the lessons are very universal since the far right and fascism seem to be on the rise all over the world. This edition is just as long as the original book so I believe none of the information is lost. The illustrations and photos that are added in this edition support the message of the author and inform the reader.

I would recommend this book in the graphic edition of the normal edition to everyone.
Was this review helpful?
I gratefully received an ARC of this from Net Galley, however, I could read it only on my phone, not on my computer (I'm tech-challenged; if it doesn't go to my Kindle, I'm hopeless!  Far to difficult to see the powerful graphics.

This book should be used in classroom history and government classes. The graphics support the text in explaining not only how tyrants came to power around the world in the 20th century, but is a guidebook on how to be sure that democracy survives.  Step one, Do Not Obey in Advance.  I find myself viewing the activities very different after having read On Tyranny.  Democracy is not guaranteed.
Was this review helpful?
The title of the book does a great job of explaining what this book is about, in 'graphic' form. The author, a historian maybe with an emphasis on 20th Century political Fascism, Nationalism......has made a graphic version of the book he initially released in 2017. He does a great job of explaining plainly/clearly how those extremist tyrannical political ideologies gained footing in other countries & gives warning signs to watch for. The illustrator of the book used drawings combined with old pictures & also cut/paste type art.....& it all combines with the graphic font/text to offer a good read.....and a real good learning experience. At a length of about 126 pages, it's just the right length to get the message across without bogging you down in non fiction. It's a really good book that everyone can understand......& every American should read!
I received this e-ARC from Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press via NetGalley for review purposes, & these opinions are my own fair/honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I was hoping that some time away from the review, thinking about what I just read would help me write the review I needed to write about this graphic novel and I am finding it is not. I would need SO much time to process all I read and I still probably could not write a coherent review, but I will try and do the best that I can [while still being overwhelmed by what I read]. 

Without hesitation I can say, EVERYONE should be reading this book, especially those who struggle with traditional books much like the author's original book of the same name. This is easily accessible to everyone and will absolutely inspire conversation over what is being read. I highly recommend that parent's and their kids read this together and then have discussions at the end of each chapter about what they just read and what it means to them. This is an absolutely necessary conversation that we all need to be having, so I also recommend this for book clubs with the same kind of discussion.  We will not be able to fight tyranny if we don't have these conversations - the previous administration proved just how close we came to having to truly fight tyranny [much like those who fought in WW2], so these conversations are even more important and this graphic novel is a really great stepping off point. This is absolutely a book I will be shoving at people, encouraging them to read it and then having meaningful conversations about what it contains. 

Separated into 20 sections, each one talks about a point or lesson that must be learned, taught, remembered to be able to combat tyranny. It is concise, well-thought out and extremely thought-provoking. The illustrations are very well done and also will invoke conversation as they make you FEEL things and will absolutely need to be discussed. 

Will there be things in this book you don't like? Probably. Are there things that will make you uncomfortable? Absolutely. I know I had moments of squirming and I consider myself an ally and fighter of injustice. Know that these are not bad things - learning and being uncomfortable and talking about why you don't like a POV is how we grow and fight and help both ourselves and those who have less around us. Books like this are necessary. Books like this remind us that freedom isn't free. Books like this are needed to remind us of just how quickly evil regimes can come to power, tyranny takes over and we all lose. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Timothy Snyder, Nora Krug [Illustrator] and Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
While I loved On Tyranny, I was not in love with the graphic edition. Some of the pictures are in the middle of the page that make the layout difficult to read. I was hoping to be able to give this version of the book for my lower-level readers to access a challenging text, but the illustrations actually make it less accessible. Still a great text, just not a great graphic edition.
Was this review helpful?
This is one of those that everyone needs to take a quick read through, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. This is graphic edition of the author’s original publication from 2017. Given some of the references made, it’s been updated since you-know-who spent four years trying to become an untouchable king. 

Covering the twenty biggest lessons to resist modern-day authoritarianism with both historical and modern day examples (looking at you, 45, who is often cited but never actually named in a way that you know would irritate the hell out of him), it’s a stark reminder to be conscious of what you take in, how much you investigate before sharing information, and what we must do to actively resist tyranny. 

Too many people hold big “it could never happen here!” energy, no matter where “here” is for them. Snyder outlines just how easy societies slip into authoritarianism, in case you needed other examples than, ya know, living through such attempts for four years. Written in easily digestible chunks and only 128 pages in length with graphics, you should read it now or at least in advance of the US 2024 presidential election cycle. <— I got exhausted just typing that out. It’ll start way too soon. 😭

The bad thing is that the people who need to read this most are the exact ones who won’t or who will scream about political bias and “liberal elites with their fancy book-learning!” They won’t see that it’s not partisan, just factual. 

This graphic edition will be available October 5, 2021 and the original is still available wherever you buy your books. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced digital copy.
Was this review helpful?
This was a really interesting, insightful read that broke down the schemes and formation of totalitarian and tyrannical regimes as we've seen them in the 20th century. The graphic novel format made this sometimes quite complex book feel more accessible, and would lend itself to the classroom or as an introductory guide to those looking to research such a topic. I did however find the font a little difficult to read through the Netgalley app, and the actual content of the book was sometimes too dry and complex, so I had to read it in short bursts, and as such it took me a while to find the motivation to get through the full book. A chapter towards the end felt a little less well constructed and was a thinly-veiled rant against Trump, which I skimmed through as plenty of content before and after was relevant to discussing his presidency in a constructive and informative way, so this felt out of place. Overall it was interesting to have experienced this book, and I'm very glad I was given the opportunity to receive an arc copy of it, but I wouldn't say this was an "entertaining" read that I enjoyed.
Was this review helpful?
In penning On Tyranny, Snyder and Krug created a masterpiece of a graphic novel that presents historical lessons from nations that have fallen into dictatorship in recent past. This is a book that calls us into action to defend our countries against influence(s) that may seek to take it over in the way of division and hate.

There is always an unconscious assumption about people living in countries that are under despotic rule. We think they are weak-willed or easily led. We assume any normal person ought to see the kind of disaster that befell them coming a mile away. On Tyranny: 20 Lessons From The Twentieth Century shows us how hard it is to spot despotism when it is looming over us, especially if we are not the ones feeling the pinch. It tells us that tyranny appeals to a very deep-seated desire within us for order and certainty. More importantly, ruthless leaders know how to harness this desire and use it to their benefit.


Ultimately, this is a book for anyone living in a democratic country. It is a warning that a state of peace and security in any nation never lasts unless most citizens work to sustain it. It teaches us that this role is even more important today in a social media age where anyone can either contribute to falsehood or promote truth and kindness. All in all, On Tyranny is a timely book for our times and worth a read for everyone that is of voting age.

Many thanks to Ten Speed Press for providing a review copy.
Was this review helpful?
Timothy Snyder reviews the history of fascism, communism, and dictators in the 20th century to distill a list of lessons on resisting their rise. He states these concepts simply and eloquently, and they are actionable tasks that challenge individuals to be knowledgeable, skeptical, and responsible in behavior and discourse. After all, the ultimate tool of a dictator is to subsume the individual to the collective; providing individual action gives both meaning and purpose to resistance against propaganda, groupthink, and the abdication of individual morality.

Where the book falls short is that its focus on the 2016 election makes it come across as partisan--which likely alienates the very audience it is designed to reach. The principles that Snyder relates are applicable to all citizens, and the scrutiny due to our public officials and purported leaders should not change with the party designation of the official.

The graphics add color and interest to the text, and often have a subtle, wry humor to them, underscoring the points of the text without taking the focus away.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars  
This book gives clear, concise, & relevant warning signs to look out for that signal a society is heading towards authoritarian rule. It also importantly gives direct & actionable steps ordinary citizens can take to build up a healthy free society to prevent a decline towards authoritarian rule. The accompanying art is whimsical, & while I’m not sure how much it enhanced the text it didn’t detract from its message.

[What I liked:]

•The text is clearly written, broken down into easily digestible chunks, & while it quotes philosophers & historians & covers academic theories, it’s written on a level that a high schooler could read. The content is meaningful, connecting specific moments in recent US history to relevant parallels in 20th C European history to demonstrate the dangers of authoritarian encroachment that face democratic societies today. The message is not one of fear mongering, but of sober awareness. It gives concrete examples of how we, average citizens, can contribute to the health of our societies and local governments. I found it overall encouraging & inspiring.
•The art, while not amazing or super enhancing to the text, did add some color to the page. The style of collage includes some photographs of the historical moments discussed in the book, which was neat.

•The tone of the book stays non-partisan & neutral when discussing domestic US politics, which I appreciate. The book warns against authoritarian takeovers of any stripe or brand, & isn’t trying to trash a specific person or party. That helps the focus stay on the main message.

[What I didn’t like as much:]

•The text uses the pejorative term g*psy instead of Roma/Romany. In the 21st C, I feel like that mistake should be obvious. 

•The art/layout seems to be missing from the last few chapters, although I assume this is just an issue with the ARC copy I was reviewing.

[I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]
Was this review helpful?
An incredible book with captivating art that simplifies and modernizes complex ideas and historical contexts, putting into perspective an enlightening response to our current times..
Was this review helpful?
I feel like I need to establish a couple of things about myself before writing my review: 1) I am not American and 2) I am non-binary. You might ask why these things are relevant, all will become clear very soon. 

On Tyranny Graphic Edition takes the reader on a journey looking at the past and reflecting on how the individual can work to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself. In theory this is an awesome concept and definitely what drew me to this book. Where this book was somewhat of a miss for me is that the history it discusses is history that the reader is already very familiar with delivered in a simplistic way and then compares it to America. The fact that this book leans so strongly towards the American political landscape means that a non-American reader may feel themselves distanced from this book and thus struggle to see how the lessons can be applied to their lives.

Now you might be asking yourself, "That's all well and good but Eff, why did you feel it necessary to mention that you are enby?" Well, fellow lover of books, it is because this book makes the choice to not only mention the work of Ms Rowling but to actively RECOMMEND that readers read or re-read said books! To say that is a nope from me would be an understatement, I very nearly yeeted the device I was reading this book on across the room when I read that portion.
Was this review helpful?
A timely meditation given our current times of oligarchs, billionaires and fascist-wannabes.  The graphic edition of this remarkable book boils down these thesis to its most straight-forward and accessible.  Teach this book in schools.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press for the opportunity to review an advance edition via NetGalley in exchange of a honest review.

On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century is an illustrated book based on Snyder's 2017 book of the same title, in which the author breakdown how the citizens can counter the dangers the United States were facing when president Trump was in charge. 

As an Historian with expertise on eastern europe´s fascist and comunist eras, is not surprising that he compares America's political climate with of those places. Certainly there's some parallelism that can be brought up when studying the sudden rise of far-right or far-left politics in any country of the world nowadays since extremist views have a firm foundation on fear and hate for anything that compels empathy towards people very different from the norm of the time.

While i found these lessons very apt, i couldn't help feeling that some of them are a bit dated. The author needed to delve deeper in the aspect of fake-news by pointing out the importance of seeking good sources both on the Internet and on the TV, newspapers or radio. He might talk about the importance of good journalism yet forget to mention that these exist beyond the mainstream media. I agree the Internet is plagued with puritanian views and conspiratory theories; however with enough curiosity one can set foot on the right direction towards a legit source. I also feel he needed to mention more fiction works that talk about authoritarism beyond Orwell's 1984, Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and even Harry Potter (lol). There must be more options out there with a more modern perspective, diversity, etc. that could catch the attention of a wider range of audience.

Speaking of audience, i personally felt these lessons where mostly aimed towards white people. Some of the lessons are stuff PoCs communities already do on a daily basis.

On the graphic's side, Nora Krug's experimental style brings clever compositions that work pretty well with the subject matter of every single lesson in this book.

After reading this i was left wondering what does Snyder think about Biden. Afaik he hasn't undone much of the damage Trump did, and isn't well liked by most of the americans i know.

Overall, i recommend this book to any newbie interested in modern politics and want tips on how to fight against tyranny.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Net Galley for a graphic copy of On Tyranny.   I am guilty for not reading a book synopsis, and judging a book by its cover.   That being said,  I felt like this book was based on the authors opinion.   I felt like I was being brainwashed to think a different way than I do.   Very disturbing.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this graphic edition of On Tyranny, the information of which there was much, was in much more digestible pieces. While I will say a few passages made me flinch with what I felt was a bit of a panic spiral, but overall the novel has some very good advice to follow and fight the possible rise of a dictator in the US.
Was this review helpful?