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Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes

Juan J. Linz
Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes
ISBN: 978-1-55587-866-5
ISBN: 978-1-55587-890-0
ISBN: 978-1-62637-269-6
2000/343 pages/LC: 00-028259

"The need for theory on totalitarian and authoritarian regimes means that the appearance of this book is good news for those interested in similar issues.... a good start for students of democratic transitions."—Dovile Budryte, Bridges

"There is no doubt that what Linz wrote a quarter of century ago has withstood the test of time beautifully.... His new introduction is interesting and useful from several points of view.... Linz provides important and decisive clues for the analysis of authoritarian, totalitarian, [and] sultanistic regimes and a lot of food for thought."—Gianfranco Pasquino, West European Politics

"Provides renewed access to an important work in comparative politics."—Choice


In this classic work, noted political sociologist Juan Linz provides an unparalleled study of the nature of nondemocratic regimes.

Linz's seminal analysis develops the fundamental distinction between totalitarian and authoritarian systems. It also presents a pathbreaking discussion of the personalistic, lawless, nonideological type of authoritarian rule that he calls (following Weber) the "sultanistic regime."

The core of the book (including a 40-page bibliography) was published in 1975 as a chapter in the Handbook of Political Science, long out of print. The author has chosen not to change the original text for this new edition, but instead has added an extensive introduction reflecting on some of the contributions to the literature and the changes that have taken place in world politics and in the nature of regimes since the 1970s.


The late Juan J. Linz was Sterling Professor of Political and Social Science at Yale University. His work on authoritarianism, the breakdown of democratic regimes, and transitions to democracy had a wide-ranging impact not only on scholarship, but also in the world of politics.


  • Introduction.
  • Totalitarian Systems.
  • Traditional Authority and Personal Rulership.
  • Authoritarian Regimes.
  • The Place of the World's States in the Typology: An Attempt and its Difficulties.
  • Concluding Comments.