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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of The Benedict Option draws on the wisdom of Christian survivors of Soviet persecution to warn American Christians of approaching dangers.

For years, émigrés from the former Soviet bloc have been telling Rod Dreher they see telltale signs of "soft" totalitarianism cropping up in America - something more Brave New World than Nineteen Eighty-Four. Identity politics are beginning to encroach on every aspect of life. Civil liberties are increasingly seen as a threat to "safety". Progressives marginalize conservative, traditional Christians and other dissenters. Technology and consumerism hasten the possibility of a corporate surveillance state. And the pandemic, having put millions out of work, leaves our country especially vulnerable to demagogic manipulation.

In Live Not by Lies, Dreher amplifies the alarm sounded by the brave men and women who fought totalitarianism. He explains how the totalitarianism facing us today is based less on overt violence and more on psychological manipulation. He tells the stories of modern-day dissidents - clergy, laity, martyrs, and confessors from the Soviet Union and the captive nations of Europe - who offer practical advice for how to identify and resist totalitarianism in our time. Following the model offered by a prophetic World War II-era pastor who prepared believers in his Eastern European to endure the coming of communism, Live Not by Lies teaches American Christians a method for resistance:

  • See: Acknowledge the reality of the situation.
  • Judge: Assess reality in the light of what we as Christians know to be true.
  • Act: Take action to protect truth.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famously said that one of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming totalitarianism can't happen in their country. Many American Christians are making that mistake today, sleepwalking through the erosion of our freedoms. Live Not by Lies will wake them and equip them for the long resistance.

©2020 Rod Dreher (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“As a new cultural revolution aims to institutionalize a tyranny of ideological clichés, Dreher renews Solzhenitsyn’s great call to ‘live not by lies.’  I cannot imagine a more timely and urgent book, or one with a more enduring spiritual, political, and cultural message.” (Daniel J. Mahoney, coeditor of The Solzhenitsyn Reader)

“In this remarkably prescient book, Dreher sets Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s timeless appeal to ‘live not by lies’ as the cornerstone of his own bold warning. His suggestion of a dawning post-Christian, ‘pre-totalitarian’ society is impossible to dismiss in light of the patient case he builds for his passionate, if provocative, thesis.” (Ignat Solzhenitsyn, conductor and pianist)

“With characteristic foresight, Rod Dreher has written an invaluable compendium of how to live fearlessly under totalitarianisms, old and new. Better still, the book is a counsel of hope and joy for even the bleakest days - and an encouragement we need, especially today in this time of cascading crises.” (Patrick Deneen, author of Why Liberalism Failed)

What listeners say about Live Not by Lies

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I couldn’t stop listening to it

This book was so eye opening but also encouraging. Every Christian needs to read this but you don’t have to be a Christian in order to benefit from the history, stories, warnings and wisdom that every chapter is filled with.

2 people found this helpful

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For such a time as this.

Written for such a time as this. All should read and share the stories with the next generation.

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Timely and relevant for today

Fantastic book revealing the reality of what we are facing in the west today. A great book on finding inner peace to deal with the troubling death march towards totalitarianism we find ourselves in.

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  • Rob
  • 2021-02-11

Required Reading

My assumption, as I judged this book by the cover, was this was reactionary writing to the political state in the United States of America along with the added pressures of COVID-19. When I learned that much of the research began in 2015, I was able to settle in and listen with a critical ear to Dreher describe many of the social, political, and theological over-sites in our North American Culture.

Rod Dreher takes a big bite of a topic that many people would consider is better left alone. Whether you agree with his idea of where our culture is at or not, this is a helpful read encouraging the church to live out more more biblical definition of the Church daily.

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live not by lies indeed

very inspirational and informative loved it thinking about a closer walk with Christ Jesus ❤

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Words all Christians and non-believers must hear

This is one of my Top 5 favourite books I've ever read / listened to... and I've read a lot.

1 person found this helpful

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Compelling. Jarring you awake.

I gasped. I cried. I stood in awe at some of the stories. and the over all premise, that the church in the West needs to wake up and hold fast to God in the face of culture.

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A must listen for the aware.

I was captivated the whole way through. The reality of having to be a dissident in the near future seems to become more of a reality each time I watch the news. The west must wake up from their slumber and seek the one true God alone.

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very worth the read

time to wake up north america! this should open all of our eyes to the persecution that is coming.

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Timely written and read...

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Gives one motivation, courage, practical knowledge as well as captivating stories of those who’ve gone before under communism/totalitarianism regimes. Thanks to God for this book!

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  • Chuck B.
  • 2020-10-02

A Must Read For All Christians!

The comparisons of the communists’ takeover of Russia and the socialist’ taking over America are very awakening. The testimonies of actual religious prisoners, and the tortures they withstood, along with the memories of their fellow prisoners, who were brutally executed, are difficult to hear. But hear it you must. America is on the same path! We willingly GIVE the information the Russian authorities were seeking and using, to the internet to be used against us!! Please Read And Become Aware!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Monty Bowman
  • 2020-10-06

This book should be a Great Awakening for Christians.

Although very scary, one sees the imprisonments of Soviet Christians as similar to the imprisonment of Paul. We in the west have not endured this, but if we do not awaken, this may become reality since “soft” Totalitarian government has already begun.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Matteo
  • 2020-09-30

Best book since 1984

Excellent book! Best book since 1984. This will be a go to book for next 20 years

9 people found this helpful

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  • Richard Angulo
  • 2020-10-11

#WakeUpSleeper... history will repeat itself

Listening to this book amplified my thoughts about how can a child of a parent or grandparent from Eastern Europe, Cuba, Venezuela not are what’s coming if Democrats win in 2020. Then I look in the mirror and realize we all need to wake up!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Nikki
  • 2020-11-08

calling the new 2020 Christian...

Not a new faith, but a new era for the American Christian. We are looking around us and wondering why we aren't all responding to the soft totalitarianism that we see the same way. Frustrated, but trying really hard to live out Christ's love and grace around us. we know what our job is in the world, but now we're really having a hard time fulfilling this calling. This struggle is what made me leap into this book when I heard about it. Not a conspiracy theory, but a history lesson ans a practical comparison. The author gives us sensible suggestions for what we can do right now. I'm thankful this book was written, God continues his work to educate me and prepare me for what he sees will come my way. to him be the glory.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-25

It Is Happenings Here

Globalism and totalitarianism are first cousins wrapped in different packages. The weapon of choice today is technology and culture, not guns and gulags, at least not yet, but the end game remains the same.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Star Foster
  • 2020-09-30

Sobering and Inspiring

Brings home how fortunate we have been, and how seriously we need to consider the future if Christianity is to survive.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-11-14

Pursue the Truth

Excellent diagnosis and prognosis of our current crisis. Remember, we were born for this moment. Embrace it with love, hope, courage and wisdom.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jeffrey P. Wright
  • 2020-10-13

He who has ears, let him hear

We must open our eyes while there is still time. This is such an important message for our times and a people being slowly simmered as the proverbial frog in the pot.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-07

a must read for every freedom-minded American

very eye-opening a bit frightening but definitely a call to action for the faithful to be prepared for what is already here and what continues to come.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jubinville Raymond
  • 2021-08-09

Eye opening and inspiring.

This book is eye openning on what is happening in western society and it is also a source of hope that inspires one to be authentic. It's well worth reading, and woukd be good to discuss with friends.