Spectator Books: what makes dictators vulnerable


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This week's books podcast was recorded live at a Spectator event in Central London. Sam's guest is the distinguished historian Frank Dikötter, whose new book - expanding from his award-winning trilogy on Chairman Mao - considers the nature of tyranny. How To Be A Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century looks at what unites and what divides the regimes of dictators from Mussolini to Mengistu. They talk about how these dictators were able to exert control, and what made them vulnerable; about how communists differed (or didn't) from fascists; about whether dictatorship in the age of the internet would be different from the 20th-century sort; about the psychology of the tyrant; and about whether Boris Johnson's creative approach to constitutional norms was something we should be worrying about.
Spectator Books is a series of literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor. Hear past episodes of Spectator Books here.

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