Yale historian shares ‘sobering’ analysis of the past, and an action plan for the present, in new book

“History does not repeat itself, but it does instruct.” With those words Yale historian Timothy Snyder introduced readers to his new book, “On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century.”

Snyder, the Bird White Housum Professor of History who specializes in Central and Eastern European history, originally wrote the 20 lessons in the book as a post on Facebook to make himself feel like he was “being useful” and to “get the sense of crushing despair off of [his] chest” following the election of Donald Trump.

The post was shared over 17,000 times on Facebook and has been read by millions of people worldwide — which, Snyder says, is precisely the reason that he chose Facebook as the medium. “I didn’t claim copyright over it, and as a result numerous outlets picked it up. Several million people from a wide variety of backgrounds viewed it,” not just those who read national newspapers for which he frequently contributes articles. “I was glad about that,” he says.