Yale professor Timothy Snyder’s treatise on the perilous state of our republic deserves a place in the same breath as Rebecca Solnit’s HOPE IN THE DARK, Naomi Klein’s THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, and Jane Mayer’s DARK MONEY: essential manuals for preserving one’s sanity while understanding the metastatic rot pervasive in the age of Trump.
The strength of Snyder’s work here is not just in the eye-opening problems or in the simple — not to be confused with easy — solutions that he proposes (indeed, each thought-provoking chapter pushed me to ask the important questions of my own conduct over the past year: Where have I acquiesced? Where have I lost sight of what is happening? Have I taken the fragility of our institutions for granted? In what ways have I let the protection of a screen shield me from taking concrete action? Where can I do more? What can I do? ) but in the underlying idea that in order to save ourselves we must tap into the humility that was the foundation of our founding and cast aside the destructive forces of imagined perfection endemic to the revanchist nostalgia proselytized in the rambling, deplorable bloviations of brand-name Twitter despots; we must summon the courage to confront our numerous and perhaps fatal shortcomings so that we might push ahead towards “a more perfect union” and become again a country always striving to improve – before it’s too late.