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How Tyrants Fall

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781399809528

Price: £24.99

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‘Gripping . . . essential and captivating’ BRADLEY HOPE

‘A sparkling read full of original observations and captivating insights’ KATJA HOYER

‘Utterly compelling . . . jaw-dropping’ BRIAN KLAAS

‘Fascinating, wide-ranging . . . highly-entertaining’ PETER GEOGHEGAN

Strongmen are rising. Democracies are faltering. How does tyranny end?

Tyrants project invincibility, but all of them fall. This is because they face critical weaknesses that can form a fatal trap. Whether it’s their inner circle turning against them or resentment of elites in the military, the masses alienated by cronyism or revolutionaries plotting in exile, tyrants always have more enemies than friends. And when they fall tyrants don’t quietly retire – they face exile, prison or death. What happens in the aftermath can change the fate of a nation.

Meeting with coup leaders, dissidents and soldiers, political scientist Marcel Dirsus draws on extraordinary interviews to examine the workings and malfunctions of tyrants. We hear from a revolutionary (codename ‘Satan’) who risked Stasi capture to undermine an oppressive regime, an unapologetic former leader of a Burundian rebel group which carried out a massacre, and an American-Gambian activist who plotted to liberate his homeland on breaks during his construction job.

But understanding dictators isn’t enough. How Tyrants Fall is the gripping, deeply researched blueprint for how to bring them down.


Fascinating, sweeping, and jaw-dropping. Dirsus takes everything you think you know about dictators and turns it on its head, with provocative insights into the warped minds of despots and the twisted systems that keep them on top. With dazzling stories and convincing analysis, How Tyrants Fall provides a roadmap to a world with fewer Putins and Kim Jong-Uns
Brian Klaas, author of CORRUPTIBLE
Timely, authoritative and accessible . . . Essential reading
Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy and International Development, University of Birmingham
A compelling and intricate portrait of how dictators survive and how they fall. Grounded in the latest research, it uses colourful real-world experiences to shed light on the central tensions underlying the reign of today's tyrants . . . How Tyrants Fall expertly captures the complex nature of strongman rule
Erica Frantz, Associate Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University
A smart, accessible, engaging reminder of the brittleness of tyrannical regimes. It is also a resource for policies that can weaken those repressive governments and prevent chaos in their aftermath. We in the West have lost confidence in the university of our political values; this excellent book ought to restore our commitment to advancing those values
Kori Schake, Director of Foreign and Defense Policy, American Enterprise Institute
A fascinating, wide-ranging and highly-entertaining journey
Peter Geoghegan, bestselling author of Democracy for Sale
Gripping . . . An essential and captivating look at the perils of authoritarian rule and the remarkable ways in which even the most ruthless despots can be toppled
Bradley Hope, co-author of Billion Dollar Whale
A sparkling read full of original observations and captivating insights. This handbook on the vulnerability of tyrants is an important contribution to our political discourse at a time when democracy is once again competing against the lure of autocracy
Katja Hoyer, author of Beyond the Wall
A timely and engaging romp through the world of dictators, exploring how they survive, how they fall, and what comes next when they collapse. A joy to read!
Joseph Wright, Professor of Political Science, Pennsylvania State University
Entertaining . . . Thought-provoking
★★★★☆ Daily Telegraph