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The Desktop Digest of Despots and Dictators: An A to Z of Tyranny Hardcover – January 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (January 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616088303
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616088309
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,214,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This compendium of the world’s most notorious dictators covers 53 absolutist rulers, including historical figures such as the Roman emperor Nero, Empress Anna of Russia, and Porfiro Díaz (who ruled Mexico for 35 years under the motto “Bread or a Beating”). Contemporary rulers are also represented, including Uganda’s Idi Amin, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-il, and the Ayatollah Khomeini. The entries are brief and accompanied by pop-art illustrations, making this unsuitable for student research, but it will certainly be informative and entertaining for general readers interested in the bad guys of history. --Rebecca Vnuk

Review



"An improbably fun compendium of the world’s worst." New York Daily News

"Informative and entertaining." Booklist

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as a Christmas gift for my boyfriend. He absolutely loves it! Very neat book! I recommend it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Xisqu on August 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A lot of the figures in this date back to a time where law, order, and the will to power were exercised and perceived much differently than they are today. Listed are tribal chieftains and generals who were not the de facto heads of any state and many of them hardly fit the bill for the modern term "dictator." Nero and Akhenaten were certainly reviled leaders with strange and controversial policies but obvious smear campaigns, the occasional war crime, and unpopularity with their contemporaries certainly don't make a figure a "dictator." That would make almost every U.S. president we've had a dictator if that were the case. Hideki Tojo? Is it still not yet an openly talked about subject that instead of being the all out monster with total decision making power he was a patsy for the emperor and U.S. intervention policy? There also isn't a lot of in depth information on these personalities, which I was hoping to see.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anya Jenkins on April 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book took a *very* loose definition of "dictator" when deciding who to include. It feels like every world leader who ever did something not nice is in here; I think every single Roman emperor is listed (although to be fair, most of them were pretty tyrannical). But Constantine? Charlemagne? Sure, these guys fought wars, oppressed "barbarians", and generally killed lots of people, but (sadly) that doesn't necessarily make someone a dictator or tyrant from a political perspective. And Kemal Ataturk?? I don't know much about him, but I always had the impression he was relatively respected at the global level, so I was curious to see why he was included. Unfortunately, his entry consists of a few sentences explaining how he is so revered in the present day that there are laws banning people from insulting him, but it gives no information as to what Ataturk actually *did* to be considered a dictator (which I would still really like to know). Also, I was surprised to find that Saddam Hussein's entry had no word whatsoever of his persecution/genocide of Kurds, or any of the other atrocities we know he committed (considering how much emphasis the author placed on Constantine and Charlemagne persecuting non-Christians, since persecuting large groups of people is usually a pretty good sign of a tyrant). All it talked about was how Saddam showered four times a day, used only custom-made shampoo, and had French chandeliers in his underground bunker. Yep, that's the mark of a dictator right there.

Honestly, if the book had a different title (like, The Desktop Digest of Mean Things that World Leaders Have Done), I'd probably rate it higher. Though the entries are brief (sometimes only a few sentences), and unpredictable in terms of the kind of information they include, it provides a decent introduction for someone totally unfamiliar with world leaders. Just don't use this book if you have a test on world leaders soon. I doubt they'll be asking about Saddam's bathing habits.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ira Kay on April 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OK, my son did the illustrations ... so .....

I still think they are great

Perfect book to read to the little kiddies at bedtime (Someone I gave a book to said that, really)
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