Theo Deutinger

Handbook of Tyranny

Handbook of Tyranny portrays the routine cruelties of the twenty-first century through a series of detailed non-fictional graphic illustrations. None of these cruelties represent extraordinary violence—they reflect day-to-day implementation of laws and regulations around the globe.

Every page of the book questions our current world of walls and fences, police tactics and prison cells, crowd control and refugee camps. The dry and factual style of storytelling through technical drawings is the graphic equivalent to bureaucratic rigidity born of laws and regulations. The level of detail depicted in the illustrations of the book mirror the repressive efforts taken by authorities around the globe.

The twenty-first century shows a general striving for an ever more regulated and protective society. Yet the scale of authoritarian intervention and their stealth design adds to the growing difficulty of linking cause and effect. Handbook of Tyranny gives a profound insight into the relationship between political power, territoriality and systematic cruelties.


"Flipping through the pages, it is amazing how creative designers can be when they are trying to harm, contain, or keep out people. And Deutinger’s graphic sensibility in presenting all of this is superb."  Architect Magazine March 2018

"Nicht Weltverbesserer, sondern Welterklärer: Der Architekt Theo Deutinger zeichnet Atlanten globaler Verhältnisse und manche Zusammenhänge völlig neu.Die Presse Dezember 2019

"In Handbook of Tyranny, Deutinger exposes the seen and unseen forces that have lead to a culture of distrust and abuse. Each chapter focuses on a new area of injustice—walls and fences, terrorist groups, crowd control design, prisons—that Deutinger is able to unpack and simplify through his drawings.Eye on Design April 2018

Winner of Die schönsten deutschen Bücher 2018 Award


Author(s): Theo Deutinger
With an essay by Brendan McGetrick
Design: Theo Deutinger

21 × 29,7 cm, 8 ¼ × 11 ¾ in
164 pages, 987 illustrations
2020, 978-3-03778-534-8, English
30,00 €