Book Discussion: “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” (Graphic Edition) with Nora Krug & Timothy Snyder

On December 8, 2021, we welcomed historian Timothy Snyder and illustrator Nora Krug for a discussion on their newly released graphic edition of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Dr. Andrew Bergerson, history professor at UMKC, moderated the…

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On December 8, 2021, we welcomed historian Timothy Snyder and illustrator Nora Krug for a discussion on their newly released graphic edition of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Dr. Andrew Bergerson, history professor at UMKC, moderated the talk.

This event was presented in partnership by Goethe Pop Up Kansas City, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, and Union Station Kansas City.

Disclaimer: All images belong to Ten Speed Press/Penguin Random House and were provided by the publisher for the talk.

About the book:
Timothy Snyder’s New York Times bestseller On Tyranny uses the darkest moments in twentieth-century history, from Nazism to Communism, to teach twenty lessons on resisting modern-day authoritarianism. Among the twenty include a warning to be aware of how symbols used today could affect tomorrow (“4: Take responsibility for the face of the world”), an urgent reminder to research everything for yourself and to the fullest extent (“11: Investigate”), a point to use personalized and individualized speech rather than clichéd phrases for the sake of mass appeal (“9: Be kind to our language”), and more.

In this graphic edition, Nora Krug draws from her highly inventive art style in Belonging. A German Reckoning with History and Home – at once a graphic memoir, collage-style scrapbook, historical narrative, and trove of memories–to breathe new life, color, and power into Snyder’s riveting historical references, turning a quick-read pocket guide of lessons into a visually striking rumination. In a time of great uncertainty and instability, this edition of On Tyranny emphasizes the importance of being active, conscious, and deliberate participants in resistance.

About the speakers:
Timothy Snyder is the Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. Snyder is the author of The Road to Unfreedom, On Tyranny, Black Earth, and Bloodlands. His work has received the Hannah Arendt Prize, the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding, and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Nora Krug is an author and illustrator. Her visual memoir, Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography, and was named a Best Book of 2018 by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, and The Guardian. Krug was named Illustrator of the Year 2018 by the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her visual narratives were awarded with gold medals from the Society of Illustrators and the NY Art Directors Club, and included in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American series and the Sundance Film Festival. Krug is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations, among others. She is an Associate Professor of Illustration at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she explores the relationship between illustration, history, memory, and cultural identity.

Nora Krug was invited at Goethe Pop Up Kansas City in May 2021 for a talk about her graphic memoir Belonging. A German Reckons with History and Home (German: “Heimat: Ein deutsches Familienalbum”). We were thrilled to welcome her back to Kansas City! Visit our Vimeo home page to watch the recording of her May book talk.

About the moderator:
Drew Bergerson is a historian of modern Germany with particular interest in the history of everyday life (Alltagsgeschichte), ethnographic/oral history, interdisciplinary German studies and the public humanities. He is a Professor of History and Public Humanities at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he has taught a range of courses on modern German, modern European and modern global history. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1998; has taught in France, Germany and Taiwan; and was awarded the UMKC Trustee’s Faculty Scholar Award for Research in 2005. He has authored or co-authored various monographs including: Ordinary Germans in Extraordinary Times (2004), The Happy Burden of History (2011), and Ruptures in the Everyday (2017).

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