• Surviving Autocracy

  • By: Masha Gessen
  • Narrated by: Masha Gessen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (448 ratings)

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Surviving Autocracy

By: Masha Gessen
Narrated by: Masha Gessen
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Publisher's Summary

"When Gessen speaks about autocracy, you listen." (The New York Times)

“A reckoning with what has been lost in the past few years and a map forward with our beliefs intact.” (Interview)

As seen on MSNBC's Morning Joe and heard on NPR's All Things Considered: the best-selling, National Book Award-winning journalist offers an essential guide to understanding, resisting, and recovering from the ravages of our tumultuous times.  

This incisive book provides an essential guide to understanding and recovering from the calamitous corrosion of American democracy over the past few years. Thanks to the special perspective that is the legacy of a Soviet childhood and two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, Masha Gessen has a sixth sense for the manifestations of autocracy - and the unique cross-cultural fluency to delineate their emergence to Americans. Gessen not only anatomizes the corrosion of the institutions and cultural norms we hoped would save us but also tells us the story of how a short few years changed us from a people who saw ourselves as a nation of immigrants to a populace haggling over a border wall, heirs to a degraded sense of truth, meaning, and possibility. Surviving Autocracy is an inventory of ravages and a call to account but also a beacon to recovery - and to the hope of what comes next. 

©2020 Masha Gessen (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A reckoning with what has been lost in the past few years and a map forward with our beliefs intact.” (Interview Magazine)

“A brisk, trenchant account....Gessen’s meticulous research and familiarity with the political and cultural history of post-Soviet Russia lend her arguments an authority lacking in other take downs of Trump. Liberals looking to make sense of what they’re up against in the 2020 elections should consider this a must-read.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review)) 

“A blistering appraisal...Surviving Autocracy isn't merely important reading for anyone who plans to cast a vote in that election, it's essential.” (Shelf Awareness) 

What listeners say about Surviving Autocracy

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Good But . . .

If you've followed Masha over the years, and know her various speeches and writings on Trump, I don't think you will find much that is new here. That is my only complaint. I've heard most of this before. If you haven't, though, it's a great introduction to her thought and writing.
She is a wonderful writer, always with a unique perspective on things, and vital reading on Trump.

15 people found this helpful

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Finishes strong, worth reading.

I chose this book after looking for a follow-up to Anne Applebaum's The Twilight of Democracy (an excellent book) and reading that this was recommended by Timothy Snyder. First, it suffers from the lack of a professional narrator. The author did herself a disservice by self-narrating. The beginning of the book is underwhelming because it is really mostly a recitation of the chronology of Trump's misconduct. I was waiting for new insights into the cause and effect of Trump's authoritarianism, and Gessen delivered these in the second half.. Stick with the book and you will be glad you did.

6 people found this helpful

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Great book, painful narration

The author has fascinating things to tell the reader, but she should not be the narrator. Her flat, sing-song delivery is distractingly bad. Wish I had bought the print copy.

5 people found this helpful

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Thought provoking.

Clear and concise description of the dangers to our democracy occasioned by the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

3 people found this helpful

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Profoundly mediocre.

Factual inaccuracies aside I’m not sure why even a left leaning listener would find this worthwhile. It was boilerplate stock progressive narrative. The author didn’t have any hot take or use a unique point of view in assessing events. It wasn’t thoughtful or original. Literally anybody with a college education could’ve written this. It was totally unimpressive.

2 people found this helpful

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Where we are and how we got here

Not another expose of trump, rather a connecting of the dots. Gessen documents how the Trump autocracy is the culmination of a process that began decades ago.

2 people found this helpful

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Another Great One

File another well written spotlight on how Trump is destroying America which his base needs to really read or listen to but unfortunately they won't...

2 people found this helpful

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More an Explanation than a Survival Guide

I trust Masha to see the things we can't. Her special perspective as a Russian born observer of autocracy from the inside give insight and credibility to her insight. This is my third Masha book. I feel better informed.

1 person found this helpful

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Insightful

Gessen shows how trump's words and atrocious behavior are at the center of a movement to make America great for rich, straight white people.

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Better in print

I am sure the information is very good but I am giving up after 2 chapters. I just cannot focus because the reading is so slow and low key.

1 person found this helpful