Fall Nonfiction: How to Be a Dictator, by Frank Dikötter

Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Ceausescu. You’ve heard the names. Do you know the stories?

Most of us know the infamous faces behind the names. Many of us realize the magnitude of disaster that hides behind the most notorious dictators in the world. But what was in their mind? How did they rise to power? And, most importantly, how did they maintain it? As the fall comes inevitably, how did theirs come to be?

Dictators: the life, the rise, and the fall

In this fascinating book, Frank Dikötter introduces the reader to eight of the most notorious political figures in the world. Dikötter takes our hand and opens the closed doors behind which Mussolini practiced his charm, Hitler based his model of power on his admiration of Mussolini, Stalin pretended to be the devoted student of Lenin, and Duvalier created a Voodoo persona to dazzle the crowds.

And that is only the surface.

How to Be a Dictator is one of the best non-fiction books of 2019, and an absolute must-read. Delving into the lives and actions of these Dictators, the author shows us inevitably not only who these people were and how they acted, but also the magnitude of danger that lurks behind dangerous personas such as theirs. And, you know what they say: if you don’t learn from history, it is bound to repeat itself. Which makes How to Be a Dictator all the more valuable.

An absolute must-have book for everyone interested in history, politics, or even the human psyche. If you read one non-fiction book this year, this should be it.