Note: The ebook of this graphic edition combines a hand-lettered font with richly detailed images. Due to the nature of the design, readers will be required to zoom in on each page. For the best experience, please use a larger, full-color screen.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A graphic edition of historian Timothy Snyder’s bestselling book of lessons for surviving and resisting America’s arc toward authoritarianism, featuring the visual storytelling talents of renowned illustrator Nora Krug
“Nora Krug has visualized and rendered some of the most valuable lessons of the twentieth century, which will serve all citizens as we shape the future.”—Shepard Fairey, artist and activist
Timothy Snyder’s New York Times bestseller On Tyranny uses the darkest moments in twentieth-century history, from Nazism to Communism, to teach twenty lessons on resisting modern-day authoritarianism. Among the twenty include a warning to be aware of how symbols used today could affect tomorrow (“4: Take responsibility for the face of the world”), an urgent reminder to research everything for yourself and to the fullest extent (“11: Investigate”), a point to use personalized and individualized speech rather than clichéd phrases for the sake of mass appeal (“9: Be kind to our language”), and more.
In this graphic edition, Nora Krug draws from her highly inventive art style in Belonging—at once a graphic memoir, collage-style scrapbook, historical narrative, and trove of memories—to breathe new life, color, and power into Snyder’s riveting historical references, turning a quick-read pocket guide of lessons into a visually striking rumination. In a time of great uncertainty and instability, this edition of On Tyranny emphasizes the importance of being active, conscious, and deliberate participants in resistance.
NBCC Award winning artist Krug (Belonging) adapts Snyder's 2017 bestseller into a graphic edition, with intricate, eerie collages that interpret historically informed "lessons" offered in response to the implicit "What can I do?" that followed the 2016 presidential election. Looking at Europe in the years leading up to and after the world wars, and the rise of Russian oligarchy in the 1990s, Snyder notes that "both fascism and communism were responses to globalization." His advice occasionally reads as wishfully simplistic (do things you enjoy because it's part of creating a civil society), but his analysis is prescient ("We are seduced by the notion of hidden realities and dark conspiracies that explain everything"). Krug manipulates photos, postcards, and commercial artwork to create an uncanny-valley effect alongside elegant pencil and watercolor work. To Snyder's point that lazy media coverage removes context, a picture of a kitten is cut from a circus background and pasted on a postcard of a bleeding, dead deer. Snyder effectively argues that tyrannical regimes exploit fear and relies on complacency with updated references to Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Among the concluding images are photos of the Statue of Liberty under construction: large and delicate, built and maintained only by collective work. Cautioning against the "politics of inevitability," this gorgeously illuminated edition is as hopeful as it is ominous.