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This book explores a little-noticed tradition in the history of European political thought. From Plato and Aristotle to Tacitus and Machiavelli, and from Tocqueville to Max Weber and Hannah Arendt, political thinkers have examined the tyrannies of their times and have wondered how these tyrannies come about, how they work, and how they might be defeated. In examining this perennial problem of tyranny, Roger Boesche looks at how these thinkers borrowed from the past - thus entering into an established dialogue - to analyze the present. Although obviously tyrannies are not identical over time (Hitler certainly did not rule as did Nero), we can learn partial lessons from past thinkers that can help us to understand twentieth-century tyrannies better.
Roger Boesche is Professor of Politics at Occidental College. He is the author of The Strange Liberalism of Alexis de Tocqueville (1987) and editor of Alexis de Tocqueville: Selected Letters on Politics and Society (1985).