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How to Be a Dictator

The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century - 400 - 14912946

Taschenbuch von Frank Dikötter

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Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, Ceausescu, Mengistu of Ethiopia and Duvalier of Haiti.

The paradox of the modern dictator is that he must create the illusion of popular support. Each one of these eight figures, in their own way, demanded constant demonstrations of loyalty from their people. Throughout the twentieth century, hundreds of millions of subjects were condemned to enthusiasm, obliged to bow to the likeness of their leader, pass by his statue, recite his work, extol his genius even as they were herded down the road to serfdom. They had to self-censor, and in turn monitor the thoughts of others.

In How to Be a Dictator, Frank Dikötter examines the cults and propaganda surrounding twentieth century dictators. These men were the founders of modern dictatorships, and they learned from each other and from history to build their regimes and maintain their public personas. From carefully choreographed parades to the deliberate cultivation of a shroud of mystery through iron censorship, they worked on their own image and tacitly encouraged their inner circle and the population at large to glorify them.

Drawing from a breadth of archival research, this authoritative and magisterial study examines how the cult took hold, grew, and sustained itself, turning every person into a sycophant. It places the cult of personality where it belongs, at the very heart of tyranny.
Information zum Autor
Frank Dikötter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His books have changed the way historians view China, from the classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China to his award-winning People's Trilogy documenting the lives of ordinary people under Mao. He is married and lives in Hong Kong.