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STRONGMAN: The Rise of Five Dictators and the Fall of Democracy

On February 21, 1972, President Richard Nixon arrived in China in what may be the most important presidential trip in history. His eventual meeting with Mao Zedong and the Communist party leadership of China changed modern history. The full story is told in Strongman.

Nixon meets Mao Zedong National Archives https://catalog.archives.gov/id/194759

 

STRONGMAN: The Rise of Five Dictators and the Fall of Democracy published on October 6, 2020

Order the hardcover and e-book from Holt Books 

An audiobook is available from Penguin Random House

A pitch-perfect balance of nuanced reflection and dire warning.”

Read the full review here

    • Starred Review from Publishers Weekly “A fascinating, highly readable portrayal of infamous men that provides urgent lessons for democracy now.”
  • Starred Review from Shelf Awareness “Kenneth C. Davis…conveys his plentiful knowledge of dictators in this powerful, spine-tingling biographic work that covers five of the world’s most horrifying autocrats. Grounded in thorough research, Strongman expertly explores the fragility of democracy …”

 

STRONGMAN tells the story of the rise to power of five of the most deadly dictators of the 20th century — Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Saddam Hussein.

A review in Booklist says, “Davis does not sugarcoat his material, inviting long thoughts with his assertion that this is a decidedly human story that points to real people as evidence that evil exists in this troubled world.” 

Full review here.

In addition to telling how these men took unlimited power, brought one-party rule to their nations, and were responsible for the deaths of millions of people, the book offers a brief history of Democracy and discusses the present threat to democratic institutions around the world.

In a time when Democracy is under assault across the globe, it is more important than ever to understand how a Strongman takes power and how quickly democracy can vanish –even as millions cheer its death.

 

 

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR STRONGMAN

“I found myself engrossed in it from beginning to end. I could not help admiring Davis’s ability to explain complex ideas in readable prose that never once discounted the intelligence of young readers. It is very much a book for our time.”

Sam Wineburg,  Margaret Jacks Professor of Education & History, Stanford University, author of Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone).

Strongman is a book that is both deeply researched and deeply felt, both an alarming warning and a galvanizing call to action, both daunting and necessary to read and discuss.”

Cynthia Levinson, author of Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today

  “A wake-up call to democracies like ours: we are not immune to despots . . .  Strongman demonstrates that democracy is not permanent, unless it is collectively upheld. This book shakes that immortality narrative.”

Jessica Ellison, President of the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies; Teacher Education Specialist, Minnesota Historical Society

Rarely does a history book take such an unflinching look at our common future, where the very presence of democracy is less than certain; even rarer is a history book in which the author’s moral convictions incite young readers to civic engagement; rarest of all, a history book as urgent, as impassioned, and as timely as Kenneth C. Davis’ Strongman.    

Eugene Yelchin, author of the Newbery Honor book Breaking Stalin’s Nose.

 

NEWS of STRONGMAN – This book is a selection of the Junior Library Guild.

 

 

 

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