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Spectator Books: what makes dictators vulnerable

11 September 2019

1:52 PM

11 September 2019

1:52 PM

This week’s books podcast was recorded live at a Spectator event in Central London. My guest is the distinguished historian Frank Dikötter, whose new book – expanding from his award-winning trilogy on Chairman Mao – considers the nature of tyranny. How To Be A Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century looks at what unites and what divides the regimes of dictators from Mussolini to Mengistu. I asked him about how these dictators were able to exert control, and what made them vulnerable; about how communists differed (or didn’t) from fascists; about whether dictatorship in the age of the internet would be different from the 20th-century sort; about the psychology of the tyrant; and about whether Boris Johnson’s creative approach to constitutional norms was something we should be worrying about. 


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