Historian, Educator, and Commentator
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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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
November 13, 2023
Mussolini and Hitler dehumanized their enemies in the same way. Here is a rare Monday post on an important subject: Trump’s use of dehumanizing language that echoes Fascist speech.
October 25, 2023
“We know how damaged our institutions of democracy — our judiciary, the legislature, the executive — have become in the eyes of the American people, even the world, from attacks within over the past few years,” President Joe Biden stated soberly in a late September speech.
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.
MEDIA INTERVIEWS | LIVECASTS
“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
Haaretz, August 14, 2023
MSNBC, July 19, 2023
CNN.com, May 29, 2023