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About Me

Charles Dunst is deputy director of research & analytics at The Asia Groupan adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a contributing editor of American Purpose. He is the author of Defeating the Dictators: How Democracy Can Prevail in the Age of the Strongman (Hodder & Stoughton, February 2023). 

He has written for The New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and The Telegraph, among other publications. An erstwhile foreign correspondent, he has reported from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Israel and the Palestinian territories, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Romania, Hungary, and Andorra. 

He holds an M.Sc. with Distinction in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a B.A. with honors in World Politics from Hamilton College. He speaks elementary Khmer (just enough to order kuy teav) and limited Spanish.

About Me

Defeating the Dictators


A Financial Times Best Book of the Week

A Financial Express (India) 2023 Top Pick

Amazon | Blackwell's | Other

"Charles Dunst's 'aspirational' book about how democracies can do a better job of competing with autocracies is bursting with statistics and lots of common sense." –Charles Kaiser, The Guardian

"Charles Dunst's new book [...] offers a programme for revitalisation of troubled democracies. At a time when much rhetoric in the US is focused on the international arena, Dunst is surely right to emphasise the importance of democratic regeneration at home." –Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

"Defeating the Dictators is a creative and thought-provoking book bolstered by well-researched statistics, potent anecdotes, and a slate of high-profile endorsements from defenders of democracy on both sides of the aisle[.] [...] It provides a welcome, mostly optimistic take on a subject characterized by too much recent pessimism."

–Matthew Kroenig and Danielle Miller, Foreign Policy

"A rare book. [...] Dunst's writing is as sharp as his argument is necessary." –U.S. Senator Chris Coons 

"Remarkable. A thoughtful and perceptive book."

–U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt

"People everywhere who care about freedom should read this book." LTG H. R. McMaster (ret.), former U.S. National Security Advisor

"No one knows the world like Dunst. [...] His how-to manual on fighting autocracy and strengthening democracy is indispensable reading." –U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper

"Important." –Simon Tisdall, The Observer

"Full of true claims, common sense, and a needed dose of optimism." –Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

"A powerful and compelling blueprint for democracies."

–Lucy Fisher, Whitehall Editor at the Financial Times

"Dunst makes a convention-busting argument 'for democracies to beat autocracy [...] by learning to perform and deliver for our people once again.' It’s undoubtedly a tall order, but it is perhaps the most essential part of the democracy equation."

–Jason Miklian, The Boston Globe

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