In addition to his career as a human rights activist and political leader, Natan Sharansky has authored three bestselling books: Fear No Evil, The Case for Democracy, and Defending Identity.
Fear No Evil
Every tour through the irrational labyrinth of the gulag Soviet prison system turns up new horrors, new injustices, new quirks concerning the human will to survive. Sharansky spent nine years in Soviet prisons and labor camps. The KGB, in punishment for his human-rights activism and his support for Soviet Jews’ demands to emigrate to Israel, used seemingly every means possible to destroy his spirit. He refused to cooperate with his captors and tormentors, who force-fed him through the mouth and rectum during prolonged hunger strikes. In his cell, he kept a photo of his wife who had fled to Israel, where he joined her upon his eventual release in 1986. Told with remarkable calm, even with harrowing humor, Sharansky’s gripping and deeply moving account of his prison years is a tribute to human resilience. His sheer courage and moral stature are matched only by his literary skill at conveying the nightmare he endured. -Publishers Weekly
The Case for Democracy
Drawing on his autobiography-from Soviet refusenik to Israeli cabinet minister – Sharansky distinguishes between “fear” and “free” societies. He spends a significant amount of time taking on conservative “realists” who prize stability in international relations, as well as liberals who he says fail to distinguish between flawed democracies that struggle to implement human rights and authoritarian or totalitarian states that flout human rights as a matter of course. Sharansky criticizes those who argue that democracy is culturally contingent and therefore unsuited for Muslim societies. Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he mentions documented Israeli human rights abuses, but places the bulk of the blame for the conflict on the dictatorial systems prevalent in Arab societies. He also weighs in on the vexing subject of how to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from the “new anti-Semitism.” Such criticism must pass the “3D” test of “[no] demonization, double standards, or delegitimization.” Sharansky does not grapple deeply with the current situation in Iraq, but his opinions throughout, honed through years in a Soviet prison and in the corridors of power, feel earned. -Publishers Weekly
In this compelling book, Natan Sharansky takes on those who see identity as a foe of freedom and explains why identity is freedom’s greatest ally in the struggle against tyranny. For Sharansky, the free world’s shield is its own identity, vigorously asserted and framed by a commitment to democratic life. Not all cultures are the same. Not all values are equivalent. Democracy and freedom are worth fighting for, and, if necessary, worth dying for. As Sharansky writes: “The enemy’s will is strong because his identity is strong. And we must match his strength of purpose with strong identities of our own.” With the moral clarity, analytical precision, and light-heartedness that are his trademarks, Sharansky draws on his unique experience to offer an unapologetic defense of the power of identity. He asserts that when framed by democracy, strong identities enrich our lives and enable us to defend the values we most deeply cherish.