Twilight of Democracy Book Summary - Twilight of Democracy Book explained in key points

Twilight of Democracy summary

Anne Applebaum

Brief summary

Twilight of Democracy by Anne Applebaum is a thought-provoking exploration of the decline of liberal democracy. It delves into the rise of populist movements and examines the dangers they pose to democratic institutions.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Twilight of Democracy
    Summary of key ideas

    The Shifting Political Landscape

    In Twilight of Democracy, Anne Applebaum provides a deep and thorough analysis of the recent seismic shifts in the global political landscape. She begins by recounting a New Year's Eve party she hosted at the turn of the millennium, populated with liberal intellectuals who were once her friends but have since turned into disillusioned autocrats.

    Applebaum correlates this personal anecdote to the growing divide within the larger global community, emphasizing how the divide isn't only ideological but also personal. In the subsequent chapters, she aims at dissecting the underlying reasons and dynamics behind this transformation in societies that seemingly embraced democratic ideals.

    Discontentment and The Rise of Rightist Populism

    For her exploration, Applebaum focuses primarily on the rise of totalitarianism and rightist populism in Europe and the United States. Taking Poland as her primary case, she deeply focuses on the rise of Law and Justice party, and how a country once lauded for its successful transition to democracy is slowly veering towards autocracy.

    Applebaum also discusses the growing political tension and polarisation in Britain during Brexit and demonstrates how Trumpism contributed to creating a divided America. She digs into the unhappiness and dissatisfaction within the community leading to populism, arguing that it's rooted in the growing wealth inequality, demographic changes, and declining social mobility.

    Media's Influence in the Fracturing of Democracy

    In Twilight of Democracy, Applebaum gives significant importance to the influence of media. She delves into the online ecosystem of conspiracy theories and propaganda, showing how they contribute to this wave of autocracy. With the unprecedented swiftness and reach of social media platforms, disinformation and falsehoods are easily propagated, influencing the mindset of the masses.

    She also details how governments and political figures manipulate these platforms to create alternative realities, fostering a confused, fearful, and angry public, which eventually corrodes the very bedrock of healthy democracies: trust.

    The Dark Future of Global Politics

    Applebaum's conclusion isn't an optimistic one. She paints a chilling picture of a future where liberal democracies are a thing of the past, and autocracies reign. “Anyone who values liberal democracy,” she writes, “must think about how such contents can be better understood and how they can be countered.”

    In the end, Twilight of Democracy serves as a dire warning for democratic societies, highlighting the fragility of democratic systems, how they can be undermined, and how we can possibly protect them. The book is an analytical and impassioned plea for protecting the values of democracy before it's too late.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Twilight of Democracy about?

    In "Twilight of Democracy," Anne Applebaum examines the rise of authoritarianism and the erosion of democratic values in Western societies. Drawing on her own experiences and interviews with former friends and colleagues who have embraced far-right ideologies, Applebaum offers a compelling analysis of the factors contributing to this troubling trend and its potential consequences for the future of democracy. This thought-provoking book provides valuable insights into the challenges facing liberal democracies today.

    Twilight of Democracy Review

    Twilight of Democracy (2020) by Anne Applebaum explores the rise of authoritarianism and the erosion of liberal democracy. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • The book provides a thorough examination of the current global political landscape, analyzing the factors that have led to the decline of democracy.
    • With insightful interviews of former colleagues and friends who have turned towards illiberal politics, the book offers a unique perspective on the disintegration of democratic values.
    • Applebaum's meticulous research and thought-provoking arguments shed light on the dangers of populism, making it a compelling and eye-opening read.

    Who should read Twilight of Democracy?

    • Readers interested in understanding the challenges to democracy in the modern world
    • Individuals who want to gain insight into the rise of populist movements and their impact on society
    • Those who seek to broaden their perspective on political polarization and its consequences

    About the Author

    Anne Applebaum is a renowned journalist and author who has written extensively on the history of Eastern Europe and the rise of authoritarianism. Her book "Twilight of Democracy" explores the erosion of democratic values and the rise of populism in Western societies. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of political dynamics, Applebaum provides a compelling analysis of the challenges facing liberal democracies. Her other notable works include "Gulag: A History" and "Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956".

    Categories with Twilight of Democracy

    Book summaries like Twilight of Democracy

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Twilight of Democracy FAQs 

    What is the main message of Twilight of Democracy?

    Twilight of Democracy explores the decline of liberal democracy and the erosion of democratic norms.

    How long does it take to read Twilight of Democracy?

    The reading time for Twilight of Democracy varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Twilight of Democracy a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Twilight of Democracy is a thought-provoking read, shedding light on the fragility of democratic systems and the importance of civic engagement.

    Who is the author of Twilight of Democracy?

    Anne Applebaum is the author of Twilight of Democracy.

    What to read after Twilight of Democracy?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Twilight of Democracy, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
    • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
    • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Happiness by Richard Layard
    • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
    • The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
    • Justice by Michael J. Sandel
    • The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    • Simply Complexity by Neil F. Johnson
    • Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday