Modern Times 1/2016

If this were the work of an entire lifetime – the culmination of decades of research – I could understand how one man could do it. But this is just one of his many books. I cannot imagine how he did anything but keep his nose in research books for all this time. Simply amazing. We all knew the general outline of the deeds of such figures (don’t want to call them men) as Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and the scores of other figures with lesser range did, but to read the details that Johnson provides is as if to have it told us for the first time. Simply amazing.
Some reviewers here and there condemn this writer with their own little version of hatred for the dissemination of these facts and patterns, but I cannot imagine that they actually read the book: are they claiming that these events did not occur? Are they insinuating that Mr. Johnson made them up? One reviewer said he did not mention women or the women’s movement and I can only conclude that she did not read the last (long) chapter.
Mr. Johnson does not recount the deeds of big government and simply sit in judgement with a “bad bad bad”; he just recounts the deeds in terms of deaths, imprisonment, and torture. He then “lifts” the historic figures “up” to reveal the similarities among them and also describes the unique shadow each casts upon the term DICTATOR. He leaves the reader to come to his or her own moral conclusions. If you like dictators, you will not like this book.
His critics will be those who still are in favor of big government solutions. They will not have been able to get through the book – they will throw it against the wall. They will continue to “do” history and “do” politics this way: “Wouldn’t it be nice if ….” and “Hey, what if we tried to be nice?” Big government is a wish, a hope.
Freedom takes courage, and courage has its source in the individual heart.
It is wonderful to learn that Mr. Johnson is still alive and smiling (WSJ interview from 2011).