Non Fiction

How to Be a Dictator by Frank Dikötter

In my bid to increase the number of non-fiction titles that I pick up in any given year, I had seen this and found myself interested. I started reading this last year, and it took a painfully long time for me to read. This is not the book’s fault since the author has maintained a steady but engrossing narrative about how the dictators rose and maintained their cults. It is more to do with the content itself (and not how it was presented) that made me slow down.

The author targets a few of the known (and a couple I did not know) dictators and traces their ascent and most chapters show how (some of) their paths crossed amongst them. It is a hard subject to read leisurely because of how drastically and quickly things changed for people. I actually appreciated the book more when I read the end. The author clarifies the title of the book and juxtaposes that against the current worldwide situation.

I would recommend it to people who are interested in history, especially the hard and brutal part. This book will start many a discussion since it deals with how people were affected and how the cult grew around these names. Although, the more avid readers of historical books might know it since there were more facts here which might be more common knowledge than I would know.

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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