The Dictator's Learning Curve by William J. Dobson

100%

11 Critic Reviews

A pertinent work of journalistic research that will gain fresh meaning as authoritarian regimes both evolve and fall.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

In this riveting anatomy of authoritarianism, acclaimed journalist William Dobson takes us inside the battle between dictators and those who would challenge their rule. Recent history has seen an incredible moment in the war between dictators and democracy—with waves of protests sweeping Syria and Yemen, and despots falling in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. But the Arab Spring is only the latest front in a global battle between freedom and repression, a battle that, until recently, dictators have been winning hands-down. The problem is that today’s authoritarians are not like the frozen-in-time, ready-to-crack regimes of Burma and North Korea. They are ever-morphing, technologically savvy, and internationally connected, and have replaced more brutal forms of intimidation with subtle coercion. The Dictator’s Learning Curve explains this historic moment and provides crucial insight into the fight for democracy.

 

About William J. Dobson

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WILLIAM J. DOBSON is politics and foreign affairs editor for Slate. He has been an editor at Foreign Affairs, Newsweek International, and Foreign Policy. During his tenure at Foreign Policy, the magazine was nominated for the coveted National Magazine Award for General Excellence each year and won top honors in 2007 and 2009. His articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and he has provided analysis for ABC, CNN, CBS, MSNBC, and NPR. He lives in Washington, DC.
 
Published June 5, 2012 by Anchor. 352 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Dictator's Learning Curve
All: 11 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Apr 15 2012

A pertinent work of journalistic research that will gain fresh meaning as authoritarian regimes both evolve and fall.

Read Full Review of The Dictator's Learning Curve | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by DWIGHT GARNER on Jun 10 2012

Mr. Dobson delivers portraits of some of the world’s leading intellectual, tactical and financial advocates of grass-roots democracy.

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Financial Times

Excellent
Reviewed by David Gardner on Jun 25 2012

Dobson captures empathetically the skill and insight of modern neo-despots – in much the way their more successful opponents do.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Eliot Cohen on Oct 13 2012

...exploration of the contest between contemporary dictatorshipsand those who rebel against them is valuable because it offers a sober analysis of both sides.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by SALIL TRIPATHI on Sep 22 2012

...in his thoughtful journey through formidable dictatorships of our time, where smart, authoritarian leaders have learned clever tricks to ensure that they do not become yesterday's men.

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Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Jina Moore on Jul 09 2012

In fact, Dobson’s is a terrific book to argue with. And it’s hard to think of a higher compliment for a book about Big Ideas.

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Macleans

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Petrou on Aug 10 2012

Dobson was in the midst of his research when the uprisings of the Arab Spring exploded. It gave him hope about democracy’s prospects.

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The Roanoke Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Bob Willis on Aug 31 2012

Journalist and editor William J. Dobson sought to find the roots of these movements and trace their courses, as well as ferret out efforts by the entrenched to head off change...

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The Weekly Standard

Excellent
Reviewed by DANIEL LEE on Oct 01 2012

...the reader gets a wide-ranging overview of political strife as we live it now, from Syrian Internet video to Chinese Internet shutdowns, from street battles in Tunis to street theater in Cairo.

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The Wilson Quarterly

Excellent
Reviewed by Thomas Rid on Jul 13 2012

...a collection of short, evocative dispatches from the Arab countries and Egypt, but also Russia, China, Venezuela, and, in less depth and detail, Malaysia.

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Pacific standard magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by Jeffrey Wasserstrom on Jul 16 2012

Dobson’s book ends up not only a sophisticated but also a wonderfully readable account of the latest installments in an age-old type of struggle.

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