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 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.

Interviews & Appearances

CNN Newsroom, 3/13/22

MSNBC – The Choice, 9/2/21

MSNBC – The Sunday Show, 3/13/22

New Day With John Berman, 10/11/21

Velshi, MSNBC, 01/22/22

Medhi Hasan, 5/18/21



  • February 12, 2021
    Virtual Talk: “Reflections on the 2020 Election” Virtual Event
    Ruth in conversation with Steve Hahn and Michele Mitchell
    Register: NYU Department of History, 12:30-2PM EST
  • January 15, 2021
    “Defending Democracy: The Global Rise of Autocracy in the U.S., Europe & Elsewhere”
    Museum of Jewish Heritage. Moderated by Dr Klaus Larres (Krasno professor, UNC-Chapel Hill)
    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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