Tyrants and Dictators

Writing about authoritarianism by Mary Beard, James Meek, Linda Colley, Walter Laqueur, Hilary Mantel, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Lloyd Parry.


Mary Beard, 26 April 2012

The Emperor Caligula offers another case of the King Canute problem.

Ivan the Terrible

James Meek, 1 December 2005

Like a single-column photograph in a newspaper, the portrait of Tsar Ivan IV on the dust jacket of Isabel de Madariaga’s book has been cropped down to the essential features: the mournful...

Napoleon’s Near Miss

Linda Colley, 18 April 1985

The English have never been unduly admiring of their own great men. All of Thomas Carlyle’s efforts failed to establish Oliver Cromwell securely in the Victorian pantheon. The names of Lord...

Schools of History

Walter Laqueur, 26 September 1991

‘About Hitler I can’t think of anything to say,’ thus Karl Kraus in a famous aside in 1935. But a great deal has been said about him ever since and no one has been better at...

Springtime for Robespierre

Hilary Mantel, 30 March 2000

For a time, early last year, there was no trace of Robespierre to be found on the street where he lived in the days of his fame. The restaurant called Le Robespierre had closed its doors, and...

Crimes against Allende

Christopher Hitchens, 11 July 2002

I have a more or less fixed memory of the end of the ‘Sixties’. In the autumn of 1970 I went to join a strike picket at the General Motors plant in Fremont, California. Handy for...

Advantage Pyongyang

Richard Lloyd Parry, 9 May 2013

The rhetorical torrent which began issuing from the state media in late March was unexpected in its intensity, but none of what followed has been inconsistent with past North Korean behaviour.

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