Tuesday, April 26, 2011

From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp

Source: Assistive Media (mp3)
Length: 2 hr 35 minutes
Reader: David Erdody

The book: I first heard about From Dictatorship to Democracy in a New York Times article connecting this book to peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. After putting the free pdf version on my to-read list, I was excited to find this free audiobook version.

Sharp's thesis is that a military overthrow of a dictatorship tends to allow for a new dictatorship, but an overthrow through nonviolent defiance strengthens the ability of the people to replace a dictator with a democracy. He goes on to outline how careful planning and determination can remove a dictator's means of support, cutting off the sources of power rather than trying to directly overcome that power. In order to prevent the military from attacking the public, democratic activists must work from within to take away the military's support for the regime, rather than trying to fight tanks with stones.

Rather than despairing that tyrannical regimes will never be replaced, I now see hope in the events happing in Syria, China, and elsewhere around the world. My respect for those who have pulled off peaceful revolutions has increased, now that I know how much planning and discipline it requires to accomplish such an enormous feat. Although I'm certainly not planning on overthrowing the government any time soon, I found this handbook to be very useful in my understanding of world news.

Rating: 8 / 10

The reader: The recording of this book has a little background hiss, but I was able to ignore that after the first few minutes of listening. Erdody's reading is good; there's not too much great performance one can do with a non-fiction book. His straightforward narration is clear and understandable. The book is presented in one big mp3 file, which I had to cut down for my own personal listening. This is my first experience with Assistive Media, so I'm not certain how long they will keep the file available on their website.

(Image by Jonathan Rashad via Wikimedia. Creative Commons Attribution licence.)

(Entered in the Book Review Wednesday contest at Cym Lowell. Follow the link for reviews of other books by various bloggers)


Cym Lowell said...

I tweeted! http://twitter.com/#!/cymlowell/status/65949715098910722

Thanks for linking-

Listener said...

Thanks, Cym!

cymlowell said...

Be sure to check out my blog in a second. I am getting ready to post the winner of the Link-up Amazon card. Hint, Hint.