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Twilight of Democracy

with Anne Applebaum
Hosted by Paul Wells

Twilight of Democracy

with Anne Applebaum
Hosted by Paul Wells
Anne Applebaum - Photo by Courtesy of the author

MacLean’s Magazine’s Paul Wells sits down with Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian to discuss her new book, Twilight of Democracy, which examines why elites in democracies around the world are turning toward nationalism and authoritarianism.


From the United States and Britain to continental Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege, while authoritarianism is on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, Anne Applebaum, an award-winning historian of Soviet atrocities who was one of the first American journalists to raise an alarm about anti-democratic trends in the West, explains the lure of nationalism and autocracy. In this captivating essay, she contends that political systems with radically simple beliefs are inherently appealing, especially when they benefit the loyal to the exclusion of everyone else.


Despotic leaders do not rule alone; they rely on political allies, bureaucrats, and media figures to pave their way and support their rule. The authoritarian and nationalist parties that have arisen within modern democracies offer new paths to wealth or power for their adherents. Applebaum describes many of the new advocates of illiberalism in countries around the world, showing how they use conspiracy theory, political polarization, social media, and even nostalgia to change their societies.


Elegantly written and urgently argued, Twilight of Democracy is a brilliant dissection of a world-shaking shift and a stirring glimpse of the road back to democratic values.


Books are available from our friends at Perfect Books.


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