Historian, Educator, and Commentator

Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University. She is an MSNBC Opinion Columnist and commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets about authoritarianism, Fascism, and threats to democracy around the world.

Her latest book, Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present (W.W. Norton & Company) examines how illiberal leaders use corruption, violence, propaganda, and machismo to stay in power, and how resistance to them has unfolded over a century.


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Ruth Ben-Ghiat
Strongmen - Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Now Available in paperback, with a new epilogue about Jan 6th.


Mussolini To The Present

Ours is the age of the strongman, of heads of state who damage or destroy democracy, use masculinity as a tool of political legitimacy, and promise law and order rule – and then legitimize lawless behavior by financial, sexual, and other predators. Covering a century of tyranny, this book examines how authoritarians use propaganda, virility, corruption, and violence to stay in power, and how they can be opposed.

MEDIA Interviews | Podcasts

Morning Joe, MSNBC, 01/10/23

Alex Wagner, MSNBC, 01/10/23

Breaking The Vote, Vice, 10/18/22

Ali Velshi, MSNBC, 12/04/22

The Last Word, MSNBC, 12/2/22

Morning Joe, MSNBC, 9/26/22

Stay Tuned Podcast, 10/13/22

The Mary Trump Show, 9/30/22

Political Gabfest, Slate, 9/29/22


  • October 19, 2022
    “Strongmen: How Illliberal Leaders Consolidate Power and How They Can Be Defeated,”
    Location: Amerikahaus Munich, 7 pm, Hybrid event.
  • October 20, 2022
    “Strongmen: How They Rise, How They Rule, How They Fall,”
    Mercedes-Benz Foreign Policy Forum
    Location: American Academy in Berlin, 19:30-21:00. In person.
  • November 2, 2022
    Strongmen Politicians at Home and Abroad: Author Talk with Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Alexis Coe,
    Morton Hall, Morton Library, Rhinecliff, 6:30-8pm. In-person.
  • November 15, 2022
    Featured Speaker, Democracy Summit, Center for Journalism and Democracy,
    Howard University, Washington D.C.
    Register: https://cfjd.howard.edu/register

PAST EVENTS (recordings)

  • September 28, 2022
    “America at a Crossroads,”
    The Community Conversations Series, in conversation with Larry Diamond.
    Watch video
  • October 27, 2020
    Strongmen: Mussolini To The Present
    Museum of Jewish Heritage. Moderated by Jason Stanley, Yale University.
    Watch video

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