Mao's Great Famine won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize (now the Baillie Gifford prize) in 2011, while The Cultural Revolution was shortlisted for the Pen Hessell-Tiltman Prize in 2017As well as examining perennially fascinating dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, Dikotter examines far less well known ones from beyond EuropeMao's Great Famine sold over 83,000 copies and The Tragedy of Liberation over 25,000Frank 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.Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, Ceausescu, Mengistu of Ethiopia and Duvalier of Haiti. No dictator can rule through fear and violence alone. Naked power can be grabbed and held temporarily, but it never suffices in the long term. A tyrant who can compel his own people to acclaim him will last longer. The paradox of the modern dictator is that he must create the illusion of popular support. Throughout the twentieth century, hundreds of millions of people were condemned to enthusiasm, obliged to hail their leaders even as they were herded down the road to serfdom. In How to Be a Dictator, Frank Dikötter returns to eight of the most chillingly effective personality cults of the twentieth century. From carefully choreographed parades to the deliberate cultivation of a shroud of mystery through iron censorship, these dictators ceaselessly worked on their own image and encouraged the population at large to glorify them. At a time when democracy is in retreat, are we seeing a revival of the same techniques among some of today's world leaders? This timely study, told with great narrative verve, examines how a cult takes hold, grows, and sustains itself. It places the cult of personality where it belongs, at the very heart of tyranny.From the Samuel Johnson prize-winning author of Mao's Great Famine, a timely and compelling exploration of the cult of personality that surrounded eight twentieth century dictatorsA heroic piece of research . Devastating in every sense of the wordGround-breaking . Unsparing in its detail, relentless in its research, unforgiving in its judgements . Dikötter's achievement in this book is remarkableDefinitive and harrowingDikötter never allows his intense account to degenerate into melodrama . Fascinating Magnificent ... The author gives full acknowledgement to memoirs and scholarly works but it is his own archival research, allied to a piercing critique, that lifts the book to a higher level. He has mastered the details so well that with the most sparing use of description he weaves a vivid tapestry of China at the time .Brilliant
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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.