Historian, Educator, and Commentator

Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University. She writes about fascism, authoritarianism, propaganda, and democracy protection. She is the recipient of Guggenheim and other fellowships, an advisor to Protect Democracy, and an MSNBC opinion columnist. She appears frequently on MSNBC, PBS, and other networks.

Her latest book, Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present (2020; paperback with a new epilogue, 2021), examines how illiberal leaders use corruption, violence, propaganda, and machismo to stay in power, and how resistance to them has unfolded over a century.

She is also a consultant for television and film productions, including Guillermo del Toro’s Academy Award-winning 2022 movie Pinocchio, which is set in Fascist Italy.

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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.

Recent Lucid Articles

What Is Fascism?

December 7, 2022

Are you confused about the meaning of Fascism? If so, you’re not alone. Benito Mussolini, the creator of Fascism, famously did not define it until 1932. With Nazis once again making news in America and a neo-Fascist as Italian head of state, I thought it was a good time to offer you an excerpt of an essay I wrote for a German publication on how the meaning of Fascism has changed over a century.

read more


“What is Authoritarianism?” CBS News, Dec 4, 2023

Trump needs lawless people for his planned autocracy.
MSNBC, Nov. 19, 2023

Chris Hayes, on Trump’s authoritarian language,
MSNBC, November 14, 2023

Press Play with Madeleine Brand
KCRW, November 22, 2023

“Trump’s Cultivation of Violence,”
MSNBC, Sept. 26, 2023

“The GOP as an Authoritarian Party”
MSNBC GOP Primary Debate, Aug 20, 2023

“Culture of Threat:
Judges and Jurors Under Attack”
MSNBC, Aug 19, 2023

Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC, 07/30/23

“Holding Trump Accountable”
Ali Velshi, MSNBC
, 07/20/23


    • December 12, 2023
      “Panel Discussion on book Fascism in America”
      Location & Time: Center For Jewish History, New York

      6:30 pm

      More Info here

    PAST EVENTS (recordings) – Click here

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