The Road to Unfreedom

By Timothy Snyder

If your politics lean to the right, make sure you begin at the beginning when it comes to The Road To Unfreedom. Yale Professor and historical scholar, Timothy Snyder, is going to tell you, “Trump was the payload of a cyber weapon, meant to create chaos and weakness.” (page 219). 

While that may fall on some ears as conspiratorial and anti-patriotic, Snyder is not out to defame Trump. He is, however, intent on helping us read history, learn from history, and avoid being beguiled by a new form of Russian authoritarianism, a movement becoming increasingly entrenched in that country and making its way to Europe and the U.S.

In brief, The Road To Unfreedom chronicles the rise of authoritarianism in Russia (complements of Putin), and its impact on Europe and America. Snyder warns that what is happening there can happen here. This is 283 pages of a carefully crafted argument followed by more than sixty pages of source documentation. It is an education on:


  • The politics of inevitability and eternity.

  • The twentieth century philosopher Ivan Ilyin and his profound influence on Putin and Russia today.

  • Twenty-first century versions of fascism, kleptocracy, and oligarchy.

  • Why the Battle of Crimea, Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump matter today.

  • Cyberwar and the U.S. Presidential elections of 2016.

The Road To Unfreedom outlines a series of choices that await us, including individualism or totalitarianism, truth or lies, equality or oligarchy. Thank you, Timothy Snyder for awakening me to the need to read contemporary history and the importance of succession to democracy. 

Five reasons to read:

  1. You’ll never consume “news” quite the same. You will check and challenge “facts” to determine their validity and more closely assess the underling presuppositions and philosophies behind them.

  2. You’ll realize that the road to unfreedom is just as real as the path to democracy.

  3. You’ll appreciate Ukraine and why it matters in geopolitics.

  4. You’ll be reminded afresh that ideas have consequences.

  5. You’ll appreciate contemporary history and a historian at the height of his craft.