Club Lunch: How To Be A Dictator
Date: 4 Dec 2019 12:30 PM | Venue:
How To Be A Dictator
What does it take to become a dictator? Modern day leaders with authoritarian tendencies –Vladimir Putin, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Xi Jinping, Jair Bolsonaro, even Donald Trump – survive in power by creating and sustaining a cult of personality. In this, they have antecedents in the great dictators of the 20th Century. Author and historian, Frank Dikötter, best known for his China book series, The People’s Trilogy, which includes the prize-winning book, Mao’s Great Famine, has written a timely new book, How To Be A Dictator. In it, Dikötter traces the rise to power and the personality cults of eight of the century’s most notorious tyrants, including Hitler, Stalin, Mao, “Baby Doc” Duvalier and Mengistu of Ethiopia. He will discuss how the methods of these historical dictators are relevant to today’s strongmen and those he terms modern day “non-democrats”.
Frank Dikötter, originally from the Netherlands, has been Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong since 2006. He is the author of a dozen books on China, including The People’s Trilogy, a series of books that document the impact of communism on the lives of ordinary Chinese people, based largely on new archival material. The first volume, entitled Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, won the 2011 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Britain’s most prestigious book award for non-fiction.