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History / Modern / 20th Century > Shadows of Tyranny

A Canadian Author Canadian Read

Shadows of Tyranny: Defending Democracy in an Age of Dictatorship

By Ken McGoogan

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Publish Date

August 24, 2024


Political Science / Political Ideologies / Fascism & Totalitarianism
History / Modern / 21st Century


Bestselling historian and author Ken McGoogan delves into dictatorships of the twentieth century to sound this crucial alarm about the possibility of democratic collapse in the US and its implications for Canada. Twentieth-century novels such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale produced visions of future dystopia that rang with echoes of past tyrannies. Always implied was a warning that history’s worst chapters are never truly closed, and that we must not fail—as many of our forebears did—to recognize that the threat of totalitarianism cannot simply be wished away. Shadows of Tyranny, an alarming and engrossing work of non-fiction from acclaimed Canadian author Ken McGoogan, draws on this sense of looping history to show how figures like Donald Trump replay many aspects of the authoritarianism that spread in the middle of the last century. Calling not only on Orwell and Atwood, but also on H.G. Wells, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Jack London and Hannah Arendt, McGoogan traces the ways democracy succumbed to paranoia, polarization, scapegoating and demagoguery less than a hundred years ago. These same forces, he argues, are now driving a far-right movement in the United States that seems devoted to using Trump’s warped charisma as a “wrecking ball” to clear the way for autocracy closely resembling the dictatorships that stoked the Second World War. With this prospect, McGoogan’s central questions become all the more pressing: How should Canadians respond, officially and individually, to the possibility of democratic collapse in our powerful neighbour to the south? Is talk of manifest destiny from right-wing American firebrands like Tucker Carlson just chatter for the sake of notoriety? Or is it a hint of the expansionist urges that always lie at the heart of authoritarianism, and that may one day point the American military machine in our direction on the pretext of “liberating” us? In the cautionary spirit of earlier visionary works, Shadows of Tyranny offers a galvanizing image of a dark possible future, as well as an urgent call to act in the belief that we still have the time and ability to ward it off.

ISBN: 9781771624244
Format: Hardback
Pages: 320
Publisher: Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Ltd.
Published: August 24, 2024