The Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

Anne Applebaum

You may know Anne Applebaum as a political commentator on television or as a Pulitzer Prize winning writer for Atlantic magazine. She has spent her career in journalism. I was not aware until reading "Twilight of Democracy", that Applebaum's primary residence is Poland and that she is married to a Polish national who has served in several posts in the Polish government. Both her sons were raised in Poland and she has recently become a Polish citizen. When Applebaum writes about authoritarian governments in Eastern Europe, she has years of close observation to back up her opinions.

In "Twilight of Democracy", Applebaum writes about the increasing attacks on liberal democracy in the West from a far right nationalism that in Eastern Europe has led to authoritarian governments. This is not a conservative vs liberal book of the sort that have become so popular since Trump became President. Applebaum is a self-described conservative. She describes a new bloc in the far right that distorts conservative values and is a threat to liberal democracy. Beginning with a New Years Eve dinner party at her home in Poland in 1999, Applebaum uses her personal experiences in Eastern  Europe to describe the splitting apart of a once united democratic conservative movement. There is clearly some axe grinding here as she uses examples of her former friends to illustrate the dangerous state of affairs in Eastern Europe. But the parallels she sees with recent events in Britain and the United States should give all readers concern. For those interested in current nationalistic political movements in the West, this is a great eye witness account of how we got to the place we are today.