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  • The Revenge of Power

  • How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century
  • By: Moisés Naím
  • Narrated by: Larry Herron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)

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The Revenge of Power cover art

The Revenge of Power

By: Moisés Naím
Narrated by: Larry Herron
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Summary

Moisés Naím’s The Revenge of Power is an urgent, thrilling, and original look at the future of democracy. It illuminates one of the most important battles of our time: the future of freedom and how to contain and defeat the autocrats mushrooming around the world.

In his New York Times best-selling book The End of Power, Moisés Naím examined power-diluting forces. In The Revenge of Power, Naím turns to the trends, conditions, and behaviors that are contributing to the concentration of power, and to the clash between those forces that weaken power and those that strengthen it. He concentrates on the three “P”s—populism, polarization, and post-truths. All of which are as old as time, but are combined by today’s autocrats to undermine democratic life in new and frightening ways. Power has not changed. But the way people go about gaining it and using it has been transformed.

The Revenge of Power connects the dots between global events and political tactics that, when taken together, show a profound and often stealthy transformation in power and politics worldwide. Using the best available data and insights taken from recent research in the social sciences, Naím reveals how, on close examination, the same set of strategies to consolidate power pop up again and again in places with vastly different political, economic, and social circumstances, and offers insights about what can be done to ensure that freedom and democracy prevail.

The outcomes of these battles for power will determine if our future will be more autocratic or more democratic. These outcomes will, in turn, depend on the capacity of our democracies to survive the attacks and dirty tricks of autocratic leaders bent on weakening the checks and balances that limit their power. Naím addresses the questions at the heart of the matter: What are, in practice, those attacks and tricks? Why is power concentrating in some places while in others it is fragmenting and degrading? And the big question: What is the future of freedom?

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

©2022 Moises Naim (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

Long-listed, New Yorker Best Books of the Year, 2022

"If you want to really understand the current global threat to democracy, you should read The Revenge of Power. Moises Naim has written a masterpiece."—David Rubenstein, Co-founder and Co-Executive Chairman of The Carlyle Group

"In The Revenge of Power Moises Naim, one of the most acute observers of world politics, comprehensively catalogs the threats to democracy on the part of unaccountable dictators, populists, and companies in recent years, drawing insightful parallels across disparate domains. An important and timely work."—Frank Fukuyama, Professor, Stanford University

"Another original book by an original thinker, offering a unique global perspective on populism and power."—Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer-prize winning historian and staff writer, The Atlantic

What listeners say about The Revenge of Power

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Important book marred by inappropriate reader

This is a serious, even sombre, book about the global rise of populist politics. It works systematically and analytically through its 'three p's' theme of populism, polarisation and post-truth, with a wealth of empirical examples. You may not agree with all of it - and the absence of economics in thinking about why people buy into this stuff is something that bothered me. (Viz the claim for example that Brexit was non-ideological but primarily driven by populist anti-technocracy. Anyone with any familiarity with - the racist elements of the Leave campaign, the neoliberal dreaming of politicians like Farage, Truss and Kwarteng, and the mapping of the Conservatives' austerity programmes onto the geography of the Leave vote (to name but a few issues) can tell you this is nonsense.) But all that said, this is undeniably a big, important contribution in unravelling the strategies of contemporary power.

Unfortunately though, it is marred by an inappropriate choice of reader. Larry Herron approaches the text as though it is dramatic fiction - this would be just about bearable if he was also accurate in pronunciations, but after multiple errors with 'Berlusconi' and rendering Max Weber as 'Webber', it became really frustrating. Ultimately it gave the sense that he was himself entirely unfamiliar with the material, which is ironic since one of the themes of the book is 'media convergence' - ie the blurring of the boundary between politics and entertainment. How telling that the Audible text itself should represent the very thing Moises Naim cautions us against. It's disappointing that the author, the publisher or the agent didn't check this through properly before approving.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Eye opening read/listen. not very well narrated.

Moises Naim with an incredibly important piece of work. if this was mandatory reading in high schools, I'd feel reassured that democracy has a future. As it is, I urge change politicians to give it a read. unfortunately, the narrator reads the whole book like he is delivering breaking news. names are pronounced incorrectly throughout. and the accents atrocious.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting topic, grating narration

The topic is highly interesting and thoroughly relevant to anyone with a passing interest in politics.

The narration however left much to be desired, every sentence was read as though it was the imminent climax of the entire book’s story. I have not opened an actual copy of the book but can only expect to find every other sentence finish with an exclamation mark. I found myself in a state of heightened anxiety and stress every time I listened to this recording.

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Compelling argument. Distracting narration

The narrative was cogent even if I struggled a bit with the central premise that the 3P autocrat was a new phenomenon given how many of the roots of it cited were far from modern (Hobbes, machiavelli etc). The narration was a bit ropey. When quoting british sources the American narrator adopted a sub-Dick Van Dyke accent. But definitely worth a careful listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Compelling narrative for contemporary politics

Fascinating and compelling broad analysis of the phenomena of populism, polarisation and post-truth. But someone please tell the reader not to try to put on accents when quoting people from other countries - a distracting annoyance!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Powerful and clear

Concise and informative explanation of the rise of autocratic rulers, and importantly, what may be done about it.

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Excellent!

This book has often been recommended by the presenters of The Rest is Politics Podcast, Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart.

This book was brilliant, and well worth a read (or a listen, considering we’re on Audible)!

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    4 out of 5 stars

unlistenable - just buy the book

The content of the book is at least interesting, but utterly spoiled by the incompetent narration. You might imagine that being able to read English would be a prerequisite for narrating this kind of audiobook. Random and inconsistent pronunciation, arbitrary emphasis, and comedy accents act as a barrier to following the author's argument. The narrator seems to imagine that listeners have come to hear his dramatic interpretation of a text that he evidently isn't following himself.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Absorbing overview of the global right-wing inflection

Listened to this after it being recommended on The Rest is Politics. The three ps are a very effective way of summarising how new authoritarian regimes operate their power. Lots to think about. The style of narration sometimes sounds like it’s coming from a pulpit, but I got used to it eventually. The accents on the other hand *shudder* Boris Johnson doesn’t normally sound like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. It did make me smile despite the bleak subject matter.

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Everyone Should Read This Book

Fascinating (and a little scary) overview of the changing political world we live in today. Everyone should read this book to open their eyes and minds to what’s going on!

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  • Philippe Bogdanoff
  • 28-08-22

The narrator does not know the names of some politicians)))

The book is great.
The voice of the narrator was great.
But he keeps calling Berlusconi - berluscini. And he has mistaken some other names 😝

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  • Robert D Hunter
  • 05-07-22

Weak Narration From a Great Voice

This book is engaging, informative and insightful. it should feature in the reading list of any citizen concerned with the extremist drift as some of our most important democracies drift toward authoritarianism. The presentation is clear and well reasoned. It was marred for me by a narrator who, while possessing a great voice, still lost impact through repeated mispronounciation of names of well known global leaders and his overly dramatic style which i found unnecessary and inappropriate for this topic. Still a must read for anyone concerned about the widening trent toward autocracy.

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  • Cirrostratus
  • 07-05-22

Amateur narrator.

Great content let down by the performance of the narrator. His mispronunciations and misreading of the text is just unforgivable.

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  • Florian Wolf
  • 18-03-22

Good book, horrible narrator

The narrator seems to believe he is in a 9 hour TV commercial. He also constantly mispronounces names and simple non-english language words. My favorite is ‘Silvio Berluscini’.. there’s a whole chapter about him in the book, so the name is mentioned 50+ times- but the narrator just can’t get it right. Can’t make this stuff up..

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  • Cleve
  • 22-12-22

Superior book, horrible narrator

I give very few five stars, probably no more than one per year. The author provides all kinds of insights that the talking heads and pundants seem to be clueless about.

The narrator, on the other hand, can’t even pronounce the same word, the same way sometimes. The timing, rhythm and inflection are also frequently off. It’s better than computerized narration but the publisher could’ve done better.

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