The end of the Cold War saw what had been repressive totalitarian regimes in many parts of the world replaced with democracies. In recent years however, many of those fledgling democracies have been hollowed out, becoming mere exoskeletons of what could have been robust governments of free people. How did this happen? Why is it that democracy often no longer ends with a bang, a revolution or military coup, but with a whimper; the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions and the gradual erosion of political norms? In this study group, we will ponder these questions and seek ways in which this trend might be reversed. Our guides will be Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, both professors at Harvard University. They have recently published How Democracies Die (Crown Publishing, 2018). Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, they show how democracies die—and how they can be saved. We will also spend some time discussing Sinclair Lewis’classic 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here(Signet Classics, 2014).