A New Book on Resisting Tyranny Will Appear in Poster Form Around London

A Yale scholar’s ‘how-to’ guide for resisting authoritarianism is about to be released as a series of posters on London’s streets

Yale historian Timothy Snyder is unveiling his latest scholarly work On Tyranny in an unprecedented fashion. According to a report from the Guardian, Snyder, who specializes in European History, will be fly-posting 20 posters with the help of Vintage creative director Suzanne Dean and a team of students from Kingston University. Each poster contains the full text of a chapter from Snyder’s book, which is essentially a how-to manual for thwarting the rise of repressive regimes and counteracting the official and non-official evil perpetrated by little hands clinging to nuclear codes.

llustration: Rosie Ackroyd, Charlotte Allen, Ella Anthony, Leah Fredrickson, Grace Lister (left), Sophie Harris (centre) and Julia Connolly (right)/Vintage

In the book, Snyder endeavors to “distill what [he has] learned about the 20th century into a guide for action today.” He says the primary impetus for undertaking the project was the widespread shock and helplessness he’s witnessed many U.S. and British citizens express in the wake of their countries’ political unravellings. An obvious goal of the fly-posting (besides the publicity, of course) is to raise awareness about how ordinary citizens can take meaningful action against the rise of populism, which Snyder describes as an “urgent” concern for anyone who enjoys their freedom. In that vein, the posters will be pasted around Leonard Street, at the heart of the creative bustle in London. Snyder’s publisher chose the location because “every other person around there uses Instagram and Twitter,” and they hope the messages will gain sweeping traction on social media.

Though Snyder admits that it took him a minute to understand the poster campaign when it was initially proposed, he said in a statement:

“I will be more than happy if the posters themselves convey its message. We have become unused to the stakes being high, but they are: those who control the executive branch of the US government want a regime change in my country, and the basic sense of freedom that many of us have come to take for granted in the west is under threat.”

When this comes from a well-respected historian who has extensively studied European history and the Holocaust, people ought to pay attention.

More Like This

The Politics of Being Best of Friends

In Kamila Shamsie’s novel, a life-long friendship faces the ultimate test: principle or loyalty

Sep 29 - Torsa Ghosal

If The System Isn’t Fair, Build a New One

Americans can’t continue allowing hypernormalisation to prevent us from imagining, and creating, a new system

Aug 16 - Josef Burton

The Long Legacy of Abortion in America

A literary guide to reproductive rights: where we've been, where we are, and where we are likely headed

May 4 - Electric Literature
Thank You!