Yale Professor and Best Selling Author Timothy Snyder to Speak about New Book: The Road To Unfreedom

Yale professor and author Timothy Snyder. Credit Ine Gundersveen

Yale Professor and number one best selling author of On Tyranny and has a new book out, The Road to Unfreedom and will give at talk at Greenwich Library on Wed, May 16, 2018.

Tickets are now available to the public.  Please either print your tickets or have them available on your phone at the door for priority seating. General admission will begin at 6:45pm.

Long before the election of Donald Trump, Timothy Snyder began to issue warnings concerning threats to American democracy. A leading expert in European history, he is well-versed in the events that saw early-twentieth-century Europe yield to fascism, Nazism, and communism. Snyder does not believe history repeats itself, but he does believe it instructs—and what he has been seeing are patterns and trends here in the U.S. that have caused him great alarm.

In his #1 New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times bestseller, On Tyranny, Snyder offered readers a guide to recognizing and understanding threats to our democratic ideals and offered ways to effectively resist and bring about change.

In his new book, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (Tim Duggan Books; April 3, 2018), Snyder continues that work and takes readers further, illuminating the moments in our contemporary history in which the tenets of our democracy have been attacked. In his history of our moment, he shows that our way of life is in imminent danger.

When the Cold War ended, Americans and Europeans were lulled into a false sense of security, convinced that democracy and globalization would guarantee peace and prosperity indefinitely. As Snyder shows in The Road to Unfreedom, this generated inequality and opened the door to fascism and authoritarianism.

When Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, he would begin a campaign meant to justify rule by an increasingly wealthy few and stagnation for the rest of Russia’s citizens. Snyder reveals a Russian ideology in which the West is, by its very existence, a permanent threat. The democratic institutions, values, and ideals that Americans and the countries of the European Union enjoy must be subverted. And so Russia began to employ the strategies it perfected at home— information and cyber warfare, attacks on the free press, the spreading of falsehoods and blatant denial of fact—abroad. Snyder shows how the rise of populism, the British vote against the EU, and the election of Donald Trump were all Russian goals, achieved by seizing upon European and American prejudices and vulnerabilities. Russia has prepared the way for the defeat of democracy as we know it and, as Snyder argues, that is a truth we cannot afford to deny. The “Russia story,” seen only partially from America, comes clear in Snyder’s international narrative, and hits home in ways we don’t expect.

Based in profound research in numerous languages, this is a work of analysis that concludes with a call to action. With The Road to Unfreedom, Snyder encourages readers to take a hard, unflinching look at the current state of America’s political order and seek out the truth.

As Snyder writes in the book’s closing pages: “Final truth in this world is unattainable, but its pursuit leads the individual away from unfreedom. The temptation to believe what feels right assails us at all times from all directions. Authoritarianism begins when we can no longer tell the difference between the true and the appealing. The cynic who decides that there is no truth is the citizen who welcomes the tyrant.”

Mr. Snyder is the Levin Professor of History at Yale University and the author of On Tyranny, Black Earth, and Bloodlands. His work has received the literature award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hannah Arendt Prize, and the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Click here to register for the event on May 16.