Twilight of Democracy: the failure of politics and the parting of friends

Hosted by the Department of International Relations

Online public event


Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum


Professor Michael Cox

Professor Michael Cox

Join us for this online event with Anne Applebaum at which she will discuss her new book, Twilight of Democracy. As well as a work of memoir and reporting, it is a deep meditation on the central political dilemma of our time: Why did the wave of enthusiasm for liberal democracy, shared across the political spectrum in the 1980s and 90s, come to an end? How did we come to be so divided? Why did everyone get so angry?

Anne Applebaum, a historian of totalitarian regimes as well as an analyst of contemporary politics, offers an original interpretation of democratic decline. She charts the rise of autocratic and paranoid governments in Poland and Hungary, the cultural despair that fuelled Brexit, the media cacophony that has driven some Spaniards to return to old nationalist slogans, the apocalyptic pessimism that led many to support the election of Trump. Political leaders and historical figures appear in the story, but the book is focused above all on the dissatisfied intellectuals, philosophers, spin doctors and journalists who deliberately sought to create new definitions of “the nation,” new political realities, and sometimes deep new divisions.

Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) is the author of Gulag: A History, which won the Pulitzer Prize, of Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956, which won the Cundill Prize and Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine which won the Lionel Gelber and Duff Cooper prizes. She is a columnist for The Atlantic and a senior fellow of the Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. She divides her time between Britain, Poland and the USA. After graduating from Yale University, she was a Marshall Scholar at LSE and St. Antony’s College, Oxford. 

You can order the book, Twilight of Democracy, (UK delivery only) from our official LSE Events independent book shop, Pages of Hackney.

Michael Cox is Director of LSE IDEAS and Emeritus Professor of International Relations at LSE.

The Department of International Relations is one of the oldest as well as largest in the world. We are ranked 4th in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2019 tables for Politics and International Studies.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEApplebaum

Podcasts and Videos

A podcast of this event is available to download from Twilight of Democracy: the failure of politics and the parting of friends.

A video of this event is available to watch at Twilight of Democracy: the failure of politics and the parting of friends.

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