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Having grown up queer in the Soviet Union and since then covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, Gessen sounded the alarm about the trajectory America was on within the first 48 hours of Trump’s election. Her urgent book not only lays out the ways in which autocracy works, but is also a guide to enduring and resisting the ongoing assault. Absolutely essential reading.
“When Gessen speaks about autocracy, you listen.”—The New York Times
“The Platonic ideal of the anti-Trump Trump book.” —The Washington Post
As seen on MSNBC’sMorning Joe and heard on NPR’sAll Things Considered: the bestselling, National Book Award–winning journalist offers an essential guide to understanding, resisting, and recovering from the ravages of our tumultuous times.
In the run-up to the 2016 election, Masha Gessen stood out from other journalists for the ability to convey the ominous significance of Donald Trump’s speech and behavior, unprecedented in a national candidate. Within forty-eight hours of his victory, the essay “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” had gone viral, and Gessen’s coverage of Trump’s norm-smashing presidency became essential reading for a citizenry struggling to wrap their heads around the unimaginable. Thanks to the special perspective that is the legacy of a Soviet childhood and two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, Gessen has a sixth sense for signs of autocracy—and the unique cross-cultural fluency to delineate its emergence to Americans. This incisive book provides an indispensable overview of the calamitous trajectory of the past few years. Gessen not only highlights the corrosion of the media, the judiciary, and the cultural norms we hoped would save us but also tells us the story of how a short few years have changed us from a people who saw ourselves as a nation of immigrants to a populace haggling over a border wall, heirs to a degraded sense of truth, meaning, and possibility. Surviving Autocracy is an inventory of ravages but also a beacon to recovery—or to enduring, and resisting, an ongoing assault.
About the Author
Masha Gessen is a staff writer at TheNew Yorker and the author of several books, among them the National Book Award-winning The Future is History. The recipient of numerous other awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Fellowship, Gessen teaches at Amherst College and lives in New York City.