About Ruth

Ruth Ben-GhiatRuth Ben-Ghiat is a historian and commentator on fascism, authoritarian leaders, and propaganda — and the threats these present to democracies. As author or editor of seven books with over 100 op-eds and essays in media outlets including CNNThe New Yorker,  and The Washington Post, she brings historical perspective to her analyses of current events. Her insight into the authoritarian playbook has made her an expert source for television, radio, podcasts, and online events around the globe. 

Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University and an Advisor to Protect Democracy. She is also a historical consultant for film and television productions. She is a big fan of electronic music, which is her preferred soundtrack while writing. She practices yoga several times a week.

Ben-Ghiat’s work has been supported by Fulbright, Guggenheim, and other fellowships. Her books Fascist Modernities and Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema detail what happens to societies when authoritarian governments take hold, and explore the appeal of strongmen to collaborators and followers. Growing up in Pacific Palisades, California, where many intellectuals who fled Nazism resettled, sparked her interest in the subject. 

With Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present (Norton, November 10th, 2020), which is now available for pre-order, she offers a blueprint for understanding and resisting authoritarianism.

Recent Grants, Fellowships & Awards

  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, spring 2020
  • Edinburgh Gadda Prize for Best Book on Italian Culture, 2019, for Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema

C.V.

Download C.V.

Recent Grants, Fellowships & Awards

  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, spring 2020
  • Edinburgh Gadda Prize for Best Book on Italian Culture, 2019, for Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema

“Ruth Ben-Ghiat… specializes in male menace. What interests her is the manufactured drama of world-historical strongmen—their mannerisms, speech patterns, stagecraft, and mythomania.”

 Jon Blitzer, The New Yorker

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