Twilight of Democracy: Warnings that must be considered

Book review: Anne Applebaum shows how any society can turn against democracy

Historian Anne Applebaum strikes a more intimate tone than usual in her latest book.

Historian Anne Applebaum strikes a more intimate tone than usual in her latest book.

Anne Applebaum is a leading historian of the era when rulers visited terror upon their own subjects, and the existence of democratic institutions appeared an unattainable ideal in the face of arbitrary and violent coercion. Her signature achievement is Gulag: A History (2003), an award-winning history of the terror of concentration camps during the reign of Stalin.

This began a sequence of histories, including a study of eastern Europe in the aftermath of the second World War, and concluding with a visceral recounting of the ravages of the Ukrainian famine. Applebaum has looked into the darkest corners of history on the continent of Europe. Her works peer into the crevices of the foundations of our current nations and cultures, where inhumanity to our fellow human wreaked pitiless cruelty.

The Irish Times
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