Recommended Books in Authoritarian Politics

Hi all! I highly recommend reading these easy-going books that approach many of the core topis in authoritarian poltics. No expertise required!

  • Dictatorland: The Men Who Stole Africa by Paul Kenyon. Great book to learn about how the most famous african dictators seized power and reaped the fruits of natural resources to mantain their rule.
  • How to Be a Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century by Frank Dikötter. How do dictators exploit their public image to ensure popular support? This book offers many interesting anecdotes by comparing dictators such as Hitler, Erdogan or Putin.
  • How to feed a dictator by Witold Szablowski. Do you want to know how ruthless dictators behave at home and at the table? Witold tracked down the personal chefs of five dictators such as Idin Amin or Saddam Hussein to illustrate dictators’ behavior and life under tyranny. A must read.
  • Cosa Nostra, Blood brotherhoods and Mafia Republic by John Dickie. Although the book is not about dicators, it deals with core concepts in authoritarian politics and sociology. From Mafia’s histories, you will see how power-sharing deals play out, the role of pentiti (defectors), elite recruitment, and how and why norms and ‘trust’ are built and reinforced. I drew a great deal of inspiration from these books when I wrote my dissertation! Similarly, ‘I recomend Ndrangheta by Francesco Forgione
  • Mafia Women by Clare Longrigg. Is the Mafia world only a male thing? The quick answer is a big NO. This is a fantastic book that shows why and how women played a leading role in the Cosa Nostra and gives in-depth insights about their effect in the organization and Italian politics! A must read since women role in this type of activities is usuallyt not accounted!

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