on…’Stark Raving Rulers’ (20 Minor Despots of the 21st Century) by Sean Moncrieff

Posted: 11/07/2011 in Literature, Politics
Tags: , ,

As liberal democracy sweeps (most of) the globe it still leaves a few areas in the darkness of despotism and personality cults. This book is about those darker corners of our political World that exist outside our democratic grid. Funny and tragic, this is a must read for anyone interested in eccentric dictators and global politics. It is especially relevant as we begin to reflect on the recent changes in North Africa and the Middle East. The political systems of the West have taken a long time to germinate, and they are still far from perfect; this book helps to illustrate the fine balance between a need for regime change and a need to let other nations develop organically. You realise that if Liberal Democracy really is all is cracked up to be then it may take a very, very long time to develop in some places. The central theme for me is: ‘How does supreme power affect the psychology, actions, and tastes of men in power?’ There is a perverse pleasure in seeing how completely insane people like Karimov, Gudaffi and others are (or were). Maybe the World would be a much better place if there were less of these colourful characters and more anonymous grey-suited bureaucratic types.
The format of the book is concise and direct, you can read it in one go, or just dip into a chapter whenever the need takes you. Some of the information is obviously out of date, but I strongly recommend getting a copy of this book.

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