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Author, historian honored at UH Mānoa talks the appetite for authoritarians in democracy

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Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present
W.W. Norton & Company
"Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present" by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

New York author and historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat is this semester's Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The New York University professor is also a contributor for The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC.

Her book, "Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present," looks at illiberal democracies and the political climate in Benito Mussolini's Italy, Vladimir Putin's Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey, the United States under Donald Trump and more. It also examines the use of "masculinity as a symbol of strength and a political weapon."

She spoke to The Conversation about current global tensions as we look at the history of authoritarians and try to make sense of present-day headlines.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat
Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, right, with HPR's Catherine Cruz at Hawaiʻi Public Radio


Her public lecture, "Strongmen: How Illiberal Leaders Consolidate Power and How They Can Be Defeated," is on Thursday, March at 6:30 p.m. at the Mānoa campus. Click here for more information.

This interview aired on The Conversation on March 1, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1. 

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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