In the years just before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, conservative politicians and intellectuals across Europe and America celebrated a great achievement, felt a common purpose and, very often, forged personal friendships. The euphoria quickly evaporated, the common purpose and centre ground gradually disappeared and eventually - as this book compellingly relates - the relationships soured too.
Anne Applebaum traces a familiar history in an unfamiliar way, looking at the trajectories of individuals caught up in the public events of the last three decades. When politics become polarized, which side do you back? If you are a journalist, an intellectual, a civic leader, how do you deal with the re-emergence of authoritarian or nationalist ideas in your country? When your leaders appropriate history, or pedal conspiracies, or eviscerate the media and the judiciary, do you go along with it?
Friends and Autocrats is a new kind of political writing, an essay that mixes the personal and the political and brings a fresh understanding to the dynamics of public life in Europe and America, both now and in the past.
Anne Applebaum is the author of several books, including Gulag- A History, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize, and Iron Curtain, which in 2013 won the Duke of Westminster's Medal for Military Literature and the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature. She is Professor of Practice at the Institute for Global Affairs, London School of Economics, and a columnist for the Washington Post. She divides her time between Britain and Poland.
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