Thu, 22 July 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST


The Twilight of Democracy

Anne Applebaum In Conversation with Belle Donati

Join the Pulitzer Prize winning historian Anne Applebaum for an investigation into the central political dilemma of our age: why did the wave of enthusiasm for liberal democracy come to an end?

From the rise of autocratic, paranoid governments in Eastern Europe to the apocalyptic pessimism that fuelled the rise of Trump, few of us can ignore the evidence that democracy is in decline, replaced by new political realities fraught with division and despair. But why have so many societies been seduced by autocrats and kleptocrats – and what can we hope to do about it?

Anne Applebaum is one the world’s foremost experts in the rise and fall of totalitarian regimes. As a Pulitzer Prize winning historian she documented the horrors of Stalinism and the Soviet gulags; as an contemporary political analyst and journalist, she witnessed and documented the fall of the iron curtain and the birth of a new world that looked forward to the triumph of democracy.

Now she joins How To Academy to explore our current political moment, examining not only the political leaders and historic figures eroding democratic norms, but the dissatisfied intellectuals, philosophers, spin doctors and journalists deliberately sewing new anger and anxiety – many of whom were once her friends. What happened to make them turn their backs on liberal democracy, and embrace nationalism and conspiracy theories?

Don’t miss this chance to hear the insights of one of the foremost political commentators of our time.

Praise for Anne Applebaum’s The Twilight of Democracy:

 “Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy is the most important non-fiction book of the year because it asks the most urgent question: why is the right wing in the West moving so far to the right? Why is it, at this point in history, so drawn to authoritarianism? Why has it given up on democracy?” – David Hare, New Statesman Books of the Year

“Heretics make the best writers. … Applebaum can bring a candle into the darkness of the populist right … her writing is an arsenal that stores the sharpest weapons to hand.” – Nick Cohen, Observer

“Advancing her arguments with eloquence and personal testimony, Applebaum passionately decries the corrosion of liberal, open-society values in the last three decades.” – Chris Patten, Project Syndicate

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Anne Applebaum

American journalist, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Anne Applebaum is the author of Gulag: A History, which won the Pulitzer Prize, of Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956, which won the Cundill Prize and Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine which won the Lionel Gelber and Duff Cooper prizes. She is a columnist for The Atlantic and a senior fellow of the Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. She divides her time between Britain, Poland and the USA.

Belle Donati

News Anchor and Arts Presenter

Belle Donati is a news anchor and arts presenter. She helped launch NBC-Euronews in 2018, anchoring the new channel’s flagship breakfast show Good Morning Europe. Previously, Belle worked at France 24 English as an anchor, as well as Al Jazeera English, ITV and BBC Radio 4 as a Producer. As a Culture Correspondent for Reuters, she reported on stories ranging from David Bowie’s death to refugee theatre projects on the Syria-Lebanon border.