front cover of After Authority
After Authority
Global Art Cinema and Political Transition
Kalling Heck
Rutgers University Press, 2020
After Authority explores the tendency in art cinema to respond to political transition by turning to ambiguity, a system that ideally stems the reemergence of authoritarian logics in art and elsewhere. By comparing films from Italy, Hungary, South Korea, and the United States, this book contends that the aesthetic tradition of ambiguity in art cinema can be traced to post-authoritarian conditions and that it is in the context of a transition away from authoritarianism where art cinema aesthetics become legible. Art cinema, then, can be seen as a mode of cinematic practice that is at its core political, as its constitutive ambiguity finds its roots in the rejection of centralized and hierarchical configurations of authority. Ultimately, After Authority proposes a history of art cinema predicated on the potentials, possibilities, and politics of ambiguity.
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American Commander in Spain
Robert Hale Merriman and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Marion Merriman
University of Nevada Press, 1986
The Spanish Civil War (1936—1939) was a confrontation between supporters of Spain's democratically elected Republic—including peasants, communists, union workers, and anarchists—and an alliance of nationalist Army rebels and upper-class forces, including the Catholic Church and landlords, led by General Francisco Franco. In the political climate of the time, this civil war became the focus of foreign interests advocating conflicting ideas of democracy and fascism. Spain became a training ground where Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy tested military techniques intended for use in a yet to be declared wider world war. Although most Western nations embraced a neutrality pact, individual volunteers from around the world, including the United States, made their way to Spain to support the Republican cause.

Among the Americans was Robert Hale Merriman, a scholar who had been studying international economics in Europe. He and his wife, Marion, joined volunteers from fifty-four countries in International Brigades. Merriman became the first commander of the Americans; Abraham Lincoln Battalion and a leader among the International Brigades. Now available in a new paperback edition, American Commander in Spain is based on Merriman and Marion's diaries and personal correspondence, Marion's own service at his side in Spain, as well as Warren Lerude's extensive research and interviews with people who knew Merriman and Marion, government records, and contemporary news reports. This critically acclaimed work is both the biography of a remarkable man who combined his idealism with life-risking action to fight fascism threatening Europe and Marion's vivid first-hand account of life in Spain during the civil war that became a prologue to the Second World War.
 
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Animals under the Swastika
J. W. Mohnhaupt, translated by John R. J. Eyck
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022
Never before or since have animals played as significant a role in German history as they did during the Third Reich. Potato beetles and silkworms were used as weapons of war, pigs were used in propaganda, and dog breeding served the Nazis as a model for their racial theories. Paradoxically, some animals were put under special protection while some humans were simultaneously declared unworthy of living. Ultimately, the ways in which Nazis conceptualized and used animals—both literally and symbolically—reveals much about their racist and bigoted attitudes toward other humans.
 
Drawing from diaries, journals, school textbooks, and printed propaganda, J.W. Mohnhaupt tells these animals’ stories vividly and with an eye for everyday detail, focusing each chapter on a different facet of Nazism by way of a specific animal species: red deer, horses, cats, and more. Animals under the Swastika illustrates the complicated, thought-provoking relationship between Nazis and animals.
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Aspirational Fascism
The Struggle for Multifaceted Democracy under Trumpism
William E. Connolly
University of Minnesota Press, 2017

Coming to terms with a new period of uncertainty when it is still replete with possibilities

This quick and engaging study clearly lays out the United States’ current democratic crisis. Examining the early stages of the Nazi movement in Germany, William E. Connolly detects synergies with Donald Trump’s rhetorical style. Tapping into a sense of contemporary fragility, Aspirational Fascism pays particular attention to how conflicts between neoliberalism and the pluralizing left have placed the white working class in a bind. Ultimately, Connolly believes a multifaceted democracy constitutes the best antidote to aspirational fascism and rethinks what a politics of the left might look like today.

Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
 

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Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination
Stefan Ihrig
Harvard University Press, 2014

Early in his career, Adolf Hitler took inspiration from Benito Mussolini, his senior colleague in fascism—this fact is widely known. But an equally important role model for Hitler and the Nazis has been almost entirely neglected: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. Stefan Ihrig’s compelling presentation of this untold story promises to rewrite our understanding of the roots of Nazi ideology and strategy.

Hitler was deeply interested in Turkish affairs after 1919. He not only admired but also sought to imitate Atatürk’s radical construction of a new nation from the ashes of defeat in World War I. Hitler and the Nazis watched closely as Atatürk defied the Western powers to seize government, and they modeled the Munich Putsch to a large degree on Atatürk’s rebellion in Ankara. Hitler later remarked that in the political aftermath of the Great War, Atatürk was his master, he and Mussolini his students.

This was no fading fascination. As the Nazis struggled through the 1920s, Atatürk remained Hitler’s “star in the darkness,” his inspiration for remaking Germany along nationalist, secular, totalitarian, and ethnically exclusive lines. Nor did it escape Hitler’s notice how ruthlessly Turkish governments had dealt with Armenian and Greek minorities, whom influential Nazis directly compared with German Jews. The New Turkey, or at least those aspects of it that the Nazis chose to see, became a model for Hitler’s plans and dreams in the years leading up to the invasion of Poland.

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Authoritarianism
Three Inquiries in Critical Theory
Wendy Brown, Peter E. Gordon, and Max Pensky
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Across the Euro-Atlantic world, political leaders have been mobilizing their bases with nativism, racism, xenophobia, and paeans to “traditional values,” in brazen bids for electoral support. How are we to understand this move to the mainstream of political policies and platforms that lurked only on the far fringes through most of the postwar era?  Does it herald a new wave of authoritarianism? Is liberal democracy itself in crisis? 
 
In this volume, three distinguished scholars draw on critical theory to address our current predicament.  Wendy Brown, Peter E. Gordon, and Max Pensky share a conviction that critical theory retains the power to illuminate the forces producing the current political constellation as well as possible paths away from it.  Brown explains how “freedom” has become a rallying cry for manifestly un-emancipatory movements; Gordon dismantles the idea that fascism is rooted in the susceptible psychology of individual citizens and reflects instead on the broader cultural and historical circumstances that lend it force; and Pensky brings together the unlikely pair of Tocqueville and Adorno to explore how democracies can buckle under internal pressure. These incisive essays do not seek to smooth over the irrationality of the contemporary world, and they do not offer the false comforts of an easy return to liberal democratic values. Rather, the three authors draw on their deep engagements with nineteenth–and twentieth–century thought to investigate the historical and political contradictions that have brought about this moment, offering fiery and urgent responses to the demands of the day.
 
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Bolsonarismo
The Global Origins and Future of Brazil’s Far Right
Fernando Brancoli
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Bolsonarismo: The Global Origins and Future of Brazil’s Far Right documents the rise of the far-right alliance that emerged in Brazil in 2020 around the figure of former president Jair Bolsonaro. Unlike a cohesive organization with uniform practices, Bolsonarismo is marked by fragmentation and a broad variety of ideologies. Fernando Brancoli delves deeply into how Bolsonarismo has developed a specific political orientation through its partnerships with other groups, practices, and subjectivities within Brazil, as well as internationally.

Through interviews, archival research, and newly available public documents, this book presents a comprehensive and compelling portrait of the neo-evangelical pastors, military personnel, and meritocratic ideologues who are the actors behind the far-right movement. Adding to our understanding of Bolsonarismo's growth in Brazilian politics and the contributing factors behind it, the book also sheds light on the impact of Bolsonarismo on world politics. As a prominent leader of the far-right movement, Jair Bolsonaro's political views and policies have reverberated beyond Brazil's borders, influencing the discourse on issues such as climate change, democracy, and human rights around the world.
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A Burning Hunger
One Family’s Struggle Against Apartheid
Lynda Schuster
Ohio University Press, 2006

If the Mandelas were the generals in the fight for black liberation, the Mashininis were the foot soldiers. Theirs is a story of exile, imprisonment, torture, and loss, but also of dignity, courage, and strength in the face of appalling adversity. Originally published in Great Britain to critical acclaim, A Burning Hunger: One Family’s Struggle Against Apartheid tells a deeply moving human story and is one of the seminal books about the struggle against apartheid.

This family, Joseph and Nomkhitha Mashinini and their thirteen children, became immersed in almost every facet of the liberation struggle—from guerrilla warfare to urban insurrection. Although Joseph and Nomkhitha were peaceful citizens who had never been involved in politics, five of their sons became leaders in the antiapartheid movement. When the students of Soweto rose up in 1976 to protest a new rule making Afrikaans the language of instruction, they were led by charismatic young Tsietsi Mashinini. Scores of students were shot down and hundreds were injured. Tsietsi’s actions on that day set in motion a chain of events that would forever change South Africa, define his family, and transform their lives.

A Burning Hunger shows the human catastrophe that plagued generations of black Africans in the powerful story of one religious and law-abiding Soweto family. Basing her narrative on extensive research and interviews, Lynda Schuster richly portrays this remarkable family and in so doing reveals black South Africa during a time of momentous change.

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front cover of Cinema is the Strongest Weapon
Cinema is the Strongest Weapon
Race-Making and Resistance in Fascist Italy
Lorenzo Fabbri
University of Minnesota Press, 2023

A deep dive into Italian cinema under Mussolini’s regime and the filmmakers who used it as a means of antifascist resistance
 

Looking at Italy’s national film industry under the rule of Benito Mussolini and in the era that followed, Cinema Is the Strongest Weapon examines how cinema was harnessed as a political tool by both the reigning fascist regime and those who sought to resist it. Covering a range of canonical works alongside many of their neglected contemporaries, this book explores film’s mutable relationship to the apparatuses of state power and racial capitalism. 

 

Exploiting realism’s aesthetic, experiential, and affective affordances, Mussolini’s biopolitical project employed cinema to advance an idealized vision of life under fascism and cultivate the basis for a homogenous racial identity. In this book, Lorenzo Fabbri crucially underscores realism’s susceptibility to manipulation from diametrically opposed political perspectives, highlighting the queer, Communist, Jewish, and feminist filmmakers who subverted Mussolini’s notion that “cinema is the regime’s strongest weapon” by developing film narratives and film forms that challenged the prevailing ethno-nationalist ideology. 

 

Focusing on an understudied era of film history and Italian cultural production, Fabbri issues an important recontextualization of Italy’s celebrated neorealist movement and the structural ties it shares with its predecessor. Drawing incisive parallels to contemporary debates around race, whiteness, authoritarianism, and politics, he presents an urgent examination into the broader impact of visual media on culture and society.

 

 

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front cover of The Clash of Moral Nations
The Clash of Moral Nations
Cultural Politics in Pilsudski’s Poland, 1926–1935
Eva Plach
Ohio University Press, 2006

The May 1926 coup d’état in Poland inaugurated what has become known as the period of sanacja or “cleansing.” The event has been explored in terms of the impact that it had on state structures and political styles. But for both supporters and opponents of the post-May regime, the sanacja was a catalyst for debate about Polish national identity, about citizenship and responsibility to the nation, and about postwar sexual morality and modern gender identities.

The Clash of Moral Nations is a study of the political culture of interwar Poland, as reflected in and by the coup. Eva Plach shifts the focus from strictly political contexts and examines instead the sanacja’s open-ended and malleable language of purification, rebirth, and moral regeneration.

In tracking the diverse appropriations and manipulations of the sanacja concept, Plach relies on a wide variety of texts, including the press of the period, the personal and professional papers of notable interwar women activists, and the official records of pro-sanacja organizations, such as the Women’s Union for Citizenship Work.

The Clash of Moral Nations introduces an important cultural and gendered dimension to understandings of national and political identity in interwar Poland.

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front cover of The Crisis of German Ideology
The Crisis of German Ideology
Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich
George L. Mosse
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
This new edition revisits the renowned historian George L. Mosse’s landmark work exploring the ideological foundations of Nazism in Germany. First published in 1964, this volume was among the first to examine the intellectual origins of the Third Reich. Mosse introduced readers to what is known as the völkisch ideal—the belief that the German people were united through a transcendental essence. This mindset led to the exclusion of Jews and other groups, eventually allowing Nazi leaders to take their beliefs to catastrophic extremes. The critical introduction by Steven E. Aschheim, the author of Beyond the Border: The German-Jewish Legacy Abroad and many other books, brings Mosse’s work into the present moment.
 
George L. Mosse (1918–99) was a legendary scholar, teacher, and mentor. A refugee from Nazi Germany, in 1955 he joined the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was both influential and popular. Mosse was an early leader in the study of modern European cultural and intellectual history, fascism, and the history of sexuality and masculinity. Over his career he authored more than two dozen books.
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front cover of The Culture of Japanese Fascism
The Culture of Japanese Fascism
Alan Tansman, ed.
Duke University Press, 2009
This bold collection of essays demonstrates the necessity of understanding fascism in cultural terms rather than only or even primarily in terms of political structures and events. Contributors from history, literature, film, art history, and anthropology describe a culture of fascism in Japan in the decades preceding the end of the Asia-Pacific War. In so doing, they challenge past scholarship, which has generally rejected descriptions of pre-1945 Japan as fascist. The contributors explain how a fascist ideology was diffused throughout Japanese culture via literature, popular culture, film, design, and everyday discourse. Alan Tansman’s introduction places the essays in historical context and situates them in relation to previous scholarly inquiries into the existence of fascism in Japan.

Several contributors examine how fascism was understood in the 1930s by, for example, influential theorists, an antifascist literary group, and leading intellectuals responding to capitalist modernization. Others explore the idea that fascism’s solution to alienation and exploitation lay in efforts to beautify work, the workplace, and everyday life. Still others analyze the realization of and limits to fascist aesthetics in film, memorial design, architecture, animal imagery, a military museum, and a national exposition. Contributors also assess both manifestations of and resistance to fascist ideology in the work of renowned authors including the Nobel-prize-winning novelist and short-story writer Kawabata Yasunari and the mystery writers Edogawa Ranpo and Hamao Shirō. In the work of these final two, the tropes of sexual perversity and paranoia open a new perspective on fascist culture. This volume makes Japanese fascism available as a critical point of comparison for scholars of fascism worldwide. The concluding essay models such work by comparing Spanish and Japanese fascisms.

Contributors. Noriko Aso, Michael Baskett, Kim Brandt, Nina Cornyetz, Kevin M. Doak, James Dorsey, Aaron Gerow, Harry Harootunian, Marilyn Ivy, Angus Lockyer, Jim Reichert, Jonathan Reynolds, Ellen Schattschneider, Aaron Skabelund, Akiko Takenaka, Alan Tansman, Richard Torrance, Keith Vincent, Alejandro Yarza

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front cover of Democracy's Destruction? The 2020 Election, Trump's Insurrection, and the Strength of America's Political Institutions
Democracy's Destruction? The 2020 Election, Trump's Insurrection, and the Strength of America's Political Institutions
The 2020 Election, Trump's Insurrection, and the Strength of America's Political Institutions
James L. Gibson
Russell Sage Foundation, 2024
On January 6, 2021, an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. This assault on America’s democratic system was orchestrated by then President Donald Trump, abetted by his political party, and supported by a vocal minority of the American people. Did denial of the election results and the subsequent insurrection inflict damage on American political institutions? While most pundits and many scholars say yes, they have offered little rigorous evidence for this assertion. In Democracy’s Destruction? political scientist James L. Gibson uses surveys from representative samples of the American population to provide a more informed answer to the question.
 
Focusing on the U.S. Supreme Court, the presidency, and the U.S. Senate, Gibson reveals that how people assessed the election, the insurrection, and even the second Trump impeachment has little connection to their willingness to view American political institutions as legitimate. Instead, legitimacy is grounded in more general commitments to democratic values and support for the rule of law. On most issues of institutional legitimacy, those who denied the election results and supported the insurrection were not more likely to be alienated from political institutions and to consider them illegitimate.
 
Gibson also investigates whether Black people might have responded differently to the events of the 2020 election and its aftermath. He finds that in comparison to the White majority, Black Americans were less supportive of America’s democratic institutions and of democratic values, such as reverence for the rule of law, because they often have directly experienced unfair treatment by legal authorities. But he emphasizes that the actions of Trump and his followers are not the cause of those weaker commitments.
 
Democracy’s Destruction? offers rigorous analysis of the effect of the Trump insurrection on the state of U.S. democracy today. While cautioning that Trump and many Republicans may be devising schemes to subvert the next presidential election more effectively, the book attests to the remarkable endurance of American political institutions.

 
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Divided Memory
The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys
Jeffrey Herf
Harvard University Press, 1997

What has Germany made of its Nazi past?

A significant new look at the legacy of the Nazi regime, this book exposes the workings of past beliefs and political interests on how—and how differently—the two Germanys have recalled the crimes of Nazism, from the anti-Nazi emigration of the 1930s through the establishment of a day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism in 1996.

Why, Jeffrey Herf asks, would German politicians raise the specter of the Holocaust at all, in view of the considerable depth and breadth of support its authors and their agenda had found in Nazi Germany? Why did the public memory of Nazi anti-Jewish persecution and the Holocaust emerge, if selectively, in West Germany, yet was repressed and marginalized in “anti-fascist” East Germany? And how do the politics of left and right come into play in this divided memory? The answers reveal the surprising relationship between how the crimes of Nazism were publicly recalled and how East and West Germany separately evolved a Communist dictatorship and a liberal democracy. This book, for the first time, points to the impact of the Cold War confrontation in both West and East Germany on the public memory of anti-Jewish persecution and the Holocaust.

Konrad Adenauer, Theodor Heuss, Kurt Schumacher, Willy Brandt, Richard von Weizsacker, and Helmut Kohl in the West and Walter Ulbricht, Wilhelm Pieck, Otto Grotewohl, Paul Merker, and Erich Honnecker in the East are among the many national figures whose private and public papers and statements Herf examines. His work makes the German memory of Nazism—suppressed on the one hand and selective on the other, from Nuremberg to Bitburg—comprehensible within the historical context of the ideologies and experiences of pre-1945 German and European history as well as within the international context of shifting alliances from World War II to the Cold War. Drawing on West German and recently opened East German archives, this book is a significant contribution to the history of belief that shaped public memory of Germany’s recent past.

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front cover of The End of Victory Culture
The End of Victory Culture
Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation
Tom Engelhardt
University of Massachusetts Press, 2007
In a substantial new afterword to his classic account of the collapse of American triumphalism in the wake of World War II, Tom Engelhardt carries that story into the twenty-first century. He explores how, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the younger George Bush headed for the Wild West (Osama bin Laden, "Wanted, Dead or Alive"); how his administration brought "victory culture" roaring back as part of its Global War on Terror and its rush to invade Saddam Husseins's Iraq; and how, from its "Mission Accomplished" moment on, its various stories of triumph crashed and burned in that land.
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front cover of The Enemy of the New Man
The Enemy of the New Man
Homosexuality in Fascist Italy
Lorenzo Benadusi
University of Wisconsin Press, 2012

In this first in-depth historical study of homosexuality in Fascist Italy, Lorenzo Benadusi brings to light immensely important archival documents regarding the sexual politics of the Italian Fascist regime; he adds new insights to the study of the complex relationships of masculinity, sexuality, and Fascism; he explores the connections between new Fascist values and preexisting Italian traditional and Roman Catholic views on morality; he documents both the Fascist regime’s denial of the existence of homosexuality in Italy and its clandestine strategies and motivations for repressing and imprisoning homosexuals; he uncovers the ways that accusations of homosexuality (whether true or false) were used against political and personal enemies; and above all, he shows how homosexuality was deemed the enemy of the Fascist “New Man,” an ideal of a virile warrior and dominating husband vigorously devoted to the “political” function of producing children for the Fascist state.
    Benadusi investigates the regulation and regimentation of gender in Fascist Italy, and the extent to which, in uneasy concert with the Catholic Church, the regime engaged in the cultural and legal engineering of masculinity and femininity. He cites a wealth of unpublished documents, official speeches, letters, coerced confessions, private letters and diaries, legal documents, and government memos to reveal and analyze how the orders issued by the regime attempted to protect the “integrity of the Italian race.” For the first time, documents from the Vatican archives illuminate how the Catholic Church dealt with issues related to homosexuality during the Fascist period in Italy.

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Epic Revisionism
Russian History and Literature as Stalinist Propaganda
Edited by Kevin M. F. Platt and David Brandenberger
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006

Focusing on a number of historical and literary personalities who were regarded with disdain in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution—figures such as Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, and Mikhail Lermontov—Epic Revisionism tells the fascinating story of these individuals’ return to canonical status during the darkest days of the Stalin era. 

    An inherently interdisciplinary project, Epic Revisionism features pieces on literary and cultural history, film, opera, and theater. This volume pairs scholarly essays with selections drawn from Stalin-era primary sources—newspaper articles, unpublished archival documents, short stories—to provide students and specialists with the richest possible understanding of this understudied phenomenon in modern Russian history.

“These scholars shed a great deal of light not only on Stalinist culture but on the politics of cultural production under the Soviet system.”—David L. Hoffmann, Slavic Review
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Fascism Comes to America
A Century of Obsession in Politics and Culture
Bruce Kuklick
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A deeply relevant look at what fascism means to Americans.

From the time Mussolini took power in Italy in 1922, Americans have been obsessed with and brooded over the meaning of fascism and how it might migrate to the United States. Fascism Comes to America examines how we have viewed fascism overseas and its implications for our own country. Bruce Kuklick explores the rhetoric of politicians, who have used the language of fascism to smear opponents, and he looks at the discussions of pundits, the analyses of academics, and the displays of fascism in popular culture, including fiction, radio, TV, theater, and film. Kuklick argues that fascism has little informational meaning in the United States, but instead, it is used to denigrate or insult. For example, every political position has been besmirched as fascist. As a result, the term does not describe a phenomenon so much as it denounces what one does not like. Finally, in displaying fascism for most Americans, entertainment—and most importantly film—has been crucial in conveying to citizens what fascism is about. Fascism Comes to America has been enhanced by many illustrations that exhibit how fascism was absorbed into the US public consciousness.  
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Fascism Comes to America
A Century of Obsession in Politics and Culture
Bruce Kuklick
University of Chicago Press, 2022
This is an auto-narrated audiobook version of this book.

A deeply relevant look at what fascism means to Americans.


From the time Mussolini took power in Italy in 1922, Americans have been obsessed with and brooded over the meaning of fascism and how it might migrate to the United States. Fascism Comes to America examines how we have viewed fascism overseas and its implications for our own country. Bruce Kuklick explores the rhetoric of politicians, who have used the language of fascism to smear opponents, and he looks at the discussions of pundits, the analyses of academics, and the displays of fascism in popular culture, including fiction, radio, TV, theater, and film. Kuklick argues that fascism has little informational meaning in the United States, but instead, it is used to denigrate or insult. For example, every political position has been besmirched as fascist. As a result, the term does not describe a phenomenon so much as it denounces what one does not like. Finally, in displaying fascism for most Americans, entertainment—and most importantly film—has been crucial in conveying to citizens what fascism is about. Fascism Comes to America has been enhanced by many illustrations that exhibit how fascism was absorbed into the US public consciousness.  
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Fascism
Comparison and Definition
Stanley G. Payne
University of Wisconsin Press, 1983
“An impressive review of reputed fascist movements, at once setting them apart from other authoritarian nationalist organizations and bringing them together within a qualified generic category.  Running throughout the volume, and valuable to readers at every level, is a careful critique of the major debates that divide scholars on this most unintelligible ‘ism’ of them all.  Payne precisely defines issues, cites the best literature in the major European languages, and offers with moderation and intelligence his own conclusions on the question.”—Gilbert Allardyce, American Historical Review
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Fascism
History and Theory
David Renton
Pluto Press, 2020
Across Europe and the world, far right parties have been enjoying greater electoral success than at any time since 1945. Right-wing street movements draw huge supporters and terrorist attacks on Jews and Muslims proliferate. It sometimes seems we are returning to the age of fascism. 

To explain this disturbing trend, David Renton surveys the history of fascism in Europe from its pre-war origins to the present day, examining Marxist responses to fascism in the age of Hitler and Mussolini, the writings of Trotsky and Gramsci and contemporary theorists. Renton theorizes that fascism was driven by the chaotic and unstable balance between reactionary ambitions and the mass character of its support. This approach will arm a new generation of anti-fascists to resist those who seek to re-enact fascism.

Rewritten and revised for the twentieth anniversary of its first publication, Renton's classic book synthesizes the Marxist theory of fascism and updates it for our own times.
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The Fascist Revolution
Toward a General Theory of Fascism
George L. Mosse, with a critical introduction by Roger Griffin
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
The Fascist Revolution is the culmination of George L. Mosse's groundbreaking work on fascism. Originally published posthumously in 1999, the volume covers a broad spectrum of topics related to cultural interpretations of fascism from its origins through the twentieth century. In a series of magisterial turns, Mosse examines fascism's role in the French Revolution, its relationship with nationalism and racism, its use by intellectuals to foment insurrection, and more as a means to define and understand it as a popular phenomenon on its own terms. This new edition features a critical introduction by Roger Griffin, professor emeritus of modern history at Oxford Brookes University, contextualizing Mosse's research as fascism makes a global resurgence.
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Franco
A Personal and Political Biography
Stanley G. Payne and Jesús Palacios
University of Wisconsin Press, 2018
General Francisco Franco ruled Spain for nearly forty years, as one of the most powerful and controversial leaders in that nation's long history. He has been the subject of many biographies, several of them more than a thousand pages in length, but all the preceding works have tended toward one extreme of interpretation or the other. This is the first comprehensive scholarly biography of Franco in English that is objective and balanced in its coverage, treating all three major aspects of his life—personal, military, and political. The coauthors, both renowned historians of Spain, present a deeply researched account that has made extensive use of the Franco Archive (long inaccessible to historians). They have also conducted in-depth interviews with his only daughter to explain better his family background, personal life, and marital environment, as well as his military and political career.
            Franco: A Personal and Political Biography depicts his early life, explains his career and rise to prominence as an army officer who became Europe's youngest interwar brigadier general in 1926, and then discusses his role in the affairs of the troubled Second Spanish Republic (1931–36). Stanley G. Payne and Jesús Palacios examine in detail how Franco became dictator and how his leadership led to victory in the Spanish Civil War that consolidated his regime. They also explore Franco's role in the great repression that accompanied the Civil War—resulting in tens of thousands of executions—and examine at length his controversial role in World War II. This masterful biography highlights Franco's metamorphoses and adaptations to retain power as politics, culture, and economics shifted in the four decades of his dictatorship.

Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians

Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Reviewers

“An important book, destined to elicit a heated academic debate surrounding the man who ruled Spain for forty years and whose figure still casts a long shadow four decades after his death.”—Journal of Modern History
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Free Speech and Koch Money
Manufacturing a Campus Culture War
Ralph Wilson
Pluto Press, 2021

In recent years hundreds of high-profile ‘free speech’ incidents have rocked US college campuses. Milo Yiannopoulos, Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter and other right-wing speakers have faced considerable protest, with many being disinvited from speaking. These incidents are widely circulated as examples of the academy’s intolerance towards conservative views.

But this response is not the spontaneous outrage of the liberal colleges. There is a darker element manufacturing the crisis, funded by political operatives, and designed to achieve specific political outcomes. If you follow the money, at the heart of the issue lies the infamous and ultra-libertarian Koch donor network.

Grooming extremist celebrities, funding media platforms that promote these controversies, developing legal organzations to sue universities and corrupting legislators, the influence of the Koch network runs deep. We need to abandon the ‘campus free speech’ narrative and instead follow the money if we ever want to root out this dangerous network from our universities.

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front cover of From Nazism to Communism
From Nazism to Communism
German Schoolteachers under Two Dictatorships
Charles B. Lansing
Harvard University Press, 2010

Tracing teachers' experiences in the Third Reich and East Germany, Charles Lansing analyzes developments in education of crucial importance to both dictatorships. Lansing uses the town of Brandenburg an der Havel as a case study to examine ideological reeducation projects requiring the full mobilization of the schools and the active participation of a transformed teaching staff. Although lesson plans were easily changed, skilled teachers were neither quickly made nor easily substituted. The men and women charged in the postwar era with educating a new “antifascist” generation were, to a surprising degree, the same individuals who had worked to “Nazify” pupils in the Third Reich. But significant discontinuities existed as well, especially regarding the teachers' professional self-understanding and attitudes toward the state-sanctioned teachers' union. The mixture of continuities and discontinuities helped to stabilize the early GDR as it faced its first major crisis in the uprising of June 17, 1953.

This uniquely comparative work sheds new light on an essential story as it reconceptualizes the traditional periodization of postwar German and European history.

[more]

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Fujimori's Peru
Deception in the Public Sphere
Catherine M Conaghan
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006

Alberto Fujimori ascended to the presidency of Peru in 1990, boldly promising to remake the country. Ten years later, he hastily sent his resignation from exile in Japan, leaving behind a trail of lies, deceit, and corruption. While piecing together the shards of Fujimori’s presidency, prosecutors uncovered a vast criminal conspiracy fueled by political ambition and personal greed.

The Fujimori regime managed to maintain a facade of democracy while systematically eviscerating democratic institutions and the rule of law through legal subterfuge, intimidation, and outright bribery. The architect of this strategy was Fujimori’s notorious intelligence advisor, Vladimiro Montesinos. With great skill, Fujimori and Montesinos created the appearance of a democratic public sphere but ensured it would work only to suit their personal motives. The press was allowed to operate, but information exchange was under strict control. The more government officials tampered with the free flow of ideas, the more they inadvertently exposed the ills they were trying to cover up. And that proved to be their downfall.

Merging penetrating analysis and a journalist’s flair for narrative, Catherine Conaghan reveals the thin line between democracy and dictatorship, and shows how public institutions can both empower dictators and bring them down.

[more]

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Hannah Arendt
A Critical Introduction
Finn Bowring
Pluto Press, 2011

Hannah Arendt is one of the most famous political theorists of the twentieth century, yet in the social sciences her work has rarely been given the attention it deserves. This careful and comprehensive study introduces Arendt to a wider audience.

Finn Bowring shows how Arendt's writings have engaged with and influenced prominent figures in the sociological canon, and how her ideas may shed light on some of the most pressing social and political problems of today. He explores her critique of Marx, her relationship to Weber, the influence of her work on Habermas and the parallels and discrepancies between her and Foucault. This is a clearly written and scholarly text which surveys the leading debates over Arendt’s work, including discussions of totalitarianism, the public sphere and the nature of political responsibility.
This book will bring new perspectives to students and lecturers in sociology and politics.

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A History of Fascism, 1914–1945
Stanley G. Payne
University of Wisconsin Press, 1996

A History of Fascism is an invaluable sourcebook, offering a rare combination of detailed information and thoughtful analysis. It is a masterpiece of comparative history, for the comparisons enhance our understanding of each part of the whole. The term ‘fascist,’ used so freely these days as a pejorative epithet that has nearly lost its meaning, is precisely defined, carefully applied and skillfully explained. The analysis effectively restores the dimension of evil.”—Susan Zuccotti, The Nation

“A magisterial, wholly accessible, engaging study. . . . Payne defines fascism as a form of ultranationalism espousing a myth of national rebirth and marked by extreme elitism, mobilization of the masses, exaltation of hierarchy and subordination, oppression of women and an embrace of violence and war as virtues.”—Publishers Weekly

[more]

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A History of Italian Fascist Culture, 1922–1943
Alessandra Tarquini, Translated by Marissa Gemma
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022
Alessandra Tarquini’s A History of Italian Fascist Culture, 1922–1943 is widely recognized as an authoritative synthesis of the field. The book was published to much critical acclaim in 2011 and revised and expanded five years later. This long-awaited translation presents Tarquini’s compact, clear prose to readers previously unable to read it in the original Italian.
 
Tarquini sketches the universe of Italian fascism in three broad directions: the regime’s cultural policies, the condition of various art forms and scholarly disciplines, and the ideology underpinning the totalitarian state. She details the choices the ruling class made between 1922 and 1943, revealing how cultural policies shaped the country and how intellectuals and artists contributed to those decisions. The result is a view of fascist ideology as a system of visions, ideals, and, above all, myths capable of orienting political action and promoting a precise worldview.
 
Building on George L. Mosse’s foundational research, Tarquini provides the best single-volume work available to fully understand a complex and challenging subject. It reveals how the fascists used culture—art, cinema, music, theater, and literature—to build a conservative revolution that purported to protect the traditional social fabric while presenting itself as maximally oriented toward the future.
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A Horizon of (Im)possibilities
A Chronicle of Brazil’s Conservative Turn
Edited by Katerina Hatzikidi and Eduardo Dullo
University of London Press, 2021
The first volume in English to analyze the impact of recent political phenomena in Brazil, from the rise of Bolsonaro to the climate crisis.
 
Since the shocking 2018 presidential election in Brazil, a growing body of scholarship has attempted to understand the country’s so-called “conservative turn.” A gripping in-depth account of politics and society in Brazil today, this new volume brings together a myriad of different perspectives to help us better understand the political events that have shaken the country in recent years.

Combining ethnographic insights with political science, history, sociology, and anthropology, the interdisciplinary analyses included in A Horizon of (Im)possibilities offer a panoramic view on social and political change in Brazil, spanning temporal and spatial dimensions. Starting with the 2018 presidential election, the contributors discuss the country’s recent—and more distant—past in relation to the present. Pointing to the continuities and disruptions during those years, this volume is an invaluable guide to understanding the limits of political democracy.
 
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How to Make a Revolution
Raymond Postgate
Westholme Publishing, 2018
Written During the Ascension of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, an investigation of the Methods of Revolutionary Change
The first third of the twentieth century saw a seismic upheaval in global politics and society that still reverberates today. Communism and fascism toppled both traditional monarchies and representative democracies, while trade unions and other factions effectively challenged existing governments to adopt reforms or face crippling economic or social upheaval. Given these extraordinary events, Raymond Postgate set forth in How to Make a Revolution to objectively discuss revolutionary methods, and which tactics or strategies are the most effective. Drawing on his own idealistic experience as a young labor agitator and editor of a communist newspaper and more than fifteen years of close study of past revolutionary history and theories, the author dispassionately discusses Marxism, fascism, anarchism, and Blanquism (a doctrine within socialism), as well as syndicalism and industrial unionism. He then reviews revolutionary practice, including general strikes, financial pressure, armed revolution, and communist tactics, and ends with a prescient and frightening conclusion: without general consensus and determination, a peaceful revolution is impossible, and “if no action is taken, action of another kind will be taken for us. . . . The continuance of uncertain­ty will mean that the disillusioned will drift steadily across to a Fascist organization. Fascism means war; the character of a Fascist State is fairly well known. Once it is established, those who read, who write, who publish or who print, books like this are likely to be dead or in concentration camps.” Originally published in 1934, Postgate’s book was heralded for its clarity and scholarship. 
[more]

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Illiberal Vanguard
Populist Elitism in the United States and Russia
Alexandar Mihailovic
University of Wisconsin Press, 2023
Recent years have witnessed a growing affinity between increasingly radicalized right-wing movements in the United States and Russia, countries that only recently viewed each other as intractable foes. In Illiberal Vanguard: Populist Elitism in the United States and Russia, Alexandar Mihailovic untangles this confluence, considering ethnonationalist movements in both countries and their parallel approaches to gender, race, and performative identity. Rather than probe specific points of possible contact or political collusion, Mihailovic unveils the mirrored styles of thought that characterize far-right elitism in two erstwhile enemy nations.

Mihailovic investigates notable right-wing actors like Steve Bannon and Alexander Dugin and targets of right-wing ire such as globalization, LGBTQ+ activism, and mobilizations to remove controversial statues (that honor Confederate generals and Soviet leaders, for instance), but the argument extends beyond the specifics. How and why are radical right-wing movements developing along such similar trajectories in two nominally oppositional countries? How do religious sectarianism, the construction of whiteness, and institutionalized homophobia support each other in this transnational, informal, but powerful allegiance? Despite their appeals to populism and flamboyant theatrics, Mihailovic argues, much of the answer can be found in the mutual desire to justify and organize an illiberal vanguard of elite intellectuals, one that supports and advocates for a new authoritarianism. 
[more]

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Japan's Holy War
The Ideology of Radical Shinto Ultranationalism
Walter A. Skya
Duke University Press, 2009
Japan’s Holy War reveals how a radical religious ideology drove the Japanese to imperial expansion and global war. Bringing to light a wealth of new information, Walter A. Skya demonstrates that whatever other motives the Japanese had for waging war in Asia and the Pacific, for many the war was the fulfillment of a religious mandate. In the early twentieth century, a fervent nationalism developed within State Shintō. This ultranationalism gained widespread military and public support and led to rampant terrorism; between 1921 and 1936 three serving and two former prime ministers were assassinated. Shintō ultranationalist societies fomented a discourse calling for the abolition of parliamentary government and unlimited Japanese expansion.

Skya documents a transformation in the ideology of State Shintō in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. He shows that within the religion, support for the German-inspired theory of constitutional monarchy that had underpinned the Meiji Constitution gave way to a theory of absolute monarchy advocated by the constitutional scholar Hozumi Yatsuka in the late 1890s. That, in turn, was superseded by a totalitarian ideology centered on the emperor: an ideology advanced by the political theorists Uesugi Shinkichi and Kakehi Katsuhiko in the 1910s and 1920s. Examining the connections between various forms of Shintō nationalism and the state, Skya demonstrates that where the Meiji oligarchs had constructed a quasi-religious, quasi-secular state, Hozumi Yatsuka desired a traditional theocratic state. Uesugi Shinkichi and Kakehi Katsuhiko went further, encouraging radical, militant forms of extreme religious nationalism. Skya suggests that the creeping democracy and secularization of Japan’s political order in the early twentieth century were the principal causes of the terrorism of the 1930s, which ultimately led to a holy war against Western civilization.

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The Law of Blood
Thinking and Acting as a Nazi
Johann Chapoutot
Harvard University Press, 2018

Winner of the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research

The scale and the depth of Nazi brutality seem to defy understanding. What could drive people to fight, kill, and destroy with such ruthless ambition? Observers and historians have offered countless explanations since the 1930s. According to Johann Chapoutot, we need to understand better how the Nazis explained it themselves. We need a clearer view, in particular, of how they were steeped in and spread the idea that history gave them no choice: it was either kill or die.

Chapoutot, one of France’s leading historians, spent years immersing himself in the texts and images that reflected and shaped the mental world of Nazi ideologues, and that the Nazis disseminated to the German public. The party had no official ur-text of ideology, values, and history. But a clear narrative emerges from the myriad works of intellectuals, apparatchiks, journalists, and movie-makers that Chapoutot explores.

The story went like this: In the ancient world, the Nordic-German race lived in harmony with the laws of nature. But since Late Antiquity, corrupt foreign norms and values—Jewish values in particular—had alienated Germany from itself and from all that was natural. The time had come, under the Nazis, to return to the fundamental law of blood. Germany must fight, conquer, and procreate, or perish. History did not concern itself with right and wrong, only brute necessity. A remarkable work of scholarship and insight, The Law of Blood recreates the chilling ideas and outlook that would cost millions their lives.

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Life and Death in the Third Reich
Peter Fritzsche
Harvard University Press, 2008

On January 30, 1933, hearing about the celebrations for Hitler’s assumption of power, Erich Ebermayer remarked bitterly in his diary, “We are the losers, definitely the losers.” Learning of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which made Jews non-citizens, he raged, “hate is sown a million-fold.” Yet in March 1938, he wept for joy at the Anschluss with Austria: “Not to want it just because it has been achieved by Hitler would be folly.”

In a masterful work, Peter Fritzsche deciphers the puzzle of Nazism’s ideological grip. Its basic appeal lay in the Volksgemeinschaft—a “people’s community” that appealed to Germans to be part of a great project to redress the wrongs of the Versailles treaty, make the country strong and vital, and rid the body politic of unhealthy elements. The goal was to create a new national and racial self-consciousness among Germans. For Germany to live, others—especially Jews—had to die. Diaries and letters reveal Germans’ fears, desires, and reservations, while showing how Nazi concepts saturated everyday life. Fritzsche examines the efforts of Germans to adjust to new racial identities, to believe in the necessity of war, to accept the dynamic of unconditional destruction—in short, to become Nazis.

Powerful and provocative, Life and Death in the Third Reich is a chilling portrait of how ideology takes hold.

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Masses and Man
Nationalist and Fascist Perceptions of Reality
George L. Mosse
University of Wisconsin Press, 2024
In fourteen essays that speak to the full breadth of George L. Mosse’s intellectual horizons and scholarly legacy, Masses and Man explores radical nationalism, fascism, and Jewish modernity in twentieth-century Europe. Breaking from the conventions of historical analysis, Mosse shows that “secular religions” like fascism cannot be understood only as the products of socioeconomic or intellectual histories but rather must be approached first and foremost as cultural phenomena.

Masses and Man comprises three parts. The first lays out a cultural history of nationalism, essentially the first of its kind, emphasizing the importance of sacred expressions like myths, symbols, and rituals as appropriated in a political context. The second zeroes in on fascism’s most dramatic irruptions in European history in the rise of Italian Fascism and the Nazi Party in Germany, elucidating these as not just political movements but also cultural and even aesthetic ones. The third part considers nationalism and fascism from the particular standpoint of German Jews.

Taken in full, the volume offers an eloquent summation of Mosse’s groundbreaking insights into European nationalism, fascism, and Jewish history in the twentieth century. A new critical introduction by Enzo Traverso helpfully situates Mosse’s work in context and exposes the many ways in which Masses and Man, first published in 1980, remains relevant today.
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Me the People
How Populism Transforms Democracy
Nadia Urbinati
Harvard University Press, 2019

A timely and incisive assessment of what the success of populism means for democracy.

Populist movements have recently appeared in nearly every democracy around the world. Yet our grasp of this disruptive political phenomenon remains woefully inadequate. Politicians of all stripes appeal to the interests of the people, and every opposition party campaigns against the current establishment. What, then, distinguishes populism from run-of-the-mill democratic politics? And why should we be concerned by its rise?

In Me the People, Nadia Urbinati argues that populism should be regarded as a new form of representative government, one based on a direct relationship between the leader and those the leader defines as the “good” or “right” people. Populist leaders claim to speak to and for the people without the need for intermediaries—in particular, political parties and independent media—whom they blame for betraying the interests of the ordinary many. Urbinati shows that, while populist governments remain importantly distinct from dictatorial or fascist regimes, their dependence on the will of the leader, along with their willingness to exclude the interests of those deemed outside the bounds of the “good” or “right” people, stretches constitutional democracy to its limits and opens a pathway to authoritarianism.

Weaving together theoretical analysis, the history of political thought, and current affairs, Me the People presents an original and illuminating account of populism and its relation to democracy.

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Nationalismes, antisémitismes et débats autour de l’art juif
De quelques critiques d’art au temps de l’École de Paris (1925–1933)
Alessandro Gallicchio
Diaphanes, 2023
Dans l’entre-deux-guerres à Paris, au moment où une frange d’intellectuels unit ses voix aux mouvements nationalistes, des critiques d’art gravitant autour de l’École de Paris prennent des positions esthétiques et idéologiques parfois déroutantes. L’ouvrage examine les motivations personnelles, communautaires et sociales des diverses plumes qui ont débattu la question d’un « art juif » et de son éventuel caractère « ethnique ». Il étoffe notre compréhension de la politisation des discours sur l’art, sans céder à une vision simplificatrice ou binaire : à l’heure de la montée des fascismes, certains critiques d’art se sont adaptés aux circonstances, reflétant les glissements et les instabilités de l’époque.
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The Nazi-Fascist New Order for European Culture
Benjamin G. Martin
Harvard University Press, 2016

Following France’s crushing defeat in June 1940, the Nazis moved forward with plans to reorganize a European continent now largely under Hitler’s heel. While Germany’s military power would set the agenda, several among the Nazi elite argued that permanent German hegemony required something more: a pan-European cultural empire that would crown Hitler’s wartime conquests. At a time when the postwar European project is under strain, Benjamin G. Martin brings into focus a neglected aspect of Axis geopolitics, charting the rise and fall of Nazi-fascist “soft power” in the form of a nationalist and anti-Semitic new ordering of European culture.

As early as 1934, the Nazis began taking steps to bring European culture into alignment with their ideological aims. In cooperation and competition with Italy’s fascists, they courted filmmakers, writers, and composers from across the continent. New institutions such as the International Film Chamber, the European Writers Union, and the Permanent Council of composers forged a continental bloc opposed to the “degenerate” cosmopolitan modernism that held sway in the arts. In its place they envisioned a Europe of nations, one that exalted traditionalism, anti-Semitism, and the Volk. Such a vision held powerful appeal for conservative intellectuals who saw a European civilization in decline, threatened by American commercialism and Soviet Bolshevism.

Taking readers to film screenings, concerts, and banquets where artists from Norway to Bulgaria lent their prestige to Goebbels’s vision, Martin follows the Nazi-fascist project to its disastrous conclusion, examining the internal contradictions and sectarian rivalries that doomed it to failure.

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Nazis of Copley Square
The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front
Charles R. Gallagher
Harvard University Press, 2021

Winner of a Catholic Media Association Book Award

The forgotten history of American terrorists who, in the name of God, conspired to overthrow the government and formed an alliance with Hitler.

On January 13, 1940, FBI agents burst into the homes and offices of seventeen members of the Christian Front, seizing guns, ammunition, and homemade bombs. J. Edgar Hoover’s charges were incendiary: the group, he alleged, was planning to incite a revolution and install a “temporary dictatorship” in order to stamp out Jewish and Communist influence in the United States. Interviewed in his jail cell, the front’s ringleader was unbowed: “All I can say is—long live Christ the King! Down with Communism!”

In Nazis of Copley Square, Charles Gallagher provides a crucial missing chapter in the history of the American far right. The men of the Christian Front imagined themselves as crusaders fighting for the spiritual purification of the nation, under assault from godless Communism, and they were hardly alone in their beliefs. The front traced its origins to vibrant global Catholic theological movements of the early twentieth century, such as the Mystical Body of Christ and Catholic Action. The front’s anti-Semitism was inspired by Sunday sermons and by lay leaders openly espousing fascist and Nazi beliefs.

Gallagher chronicles the evolution of the front, the transatlantic cloak-and-dagger intelligence operations that subverted it, and the mainstream political and religious leaders who shielded the front’s activities from scrutiny. Nazis of Copley Square is a grim tale of faith perverted to violent ends, and a warning for those who hope to curb the spread of far-right ideologies today.

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Nazis of Copley Square
The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front
Charles R. Gallagher
Harvard University Press

Winner of a Catholic Media Association Book Award

“A great, but deeply unsettling, revelation…This book is more than an account of Boston in wartime. It is a warning.”—Boston Globe

“The rare book by a scholar that is such a page-turner it is hard to put down…A potent brew of spy story, detective story, and frank, fearless account of how a significant wing of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States spawned a movement aimed at defending Hitler and sabotaging America’s war effort.”—David I. Kertzer, author of The Pope and Mussolini

“[A] well told, expertly researched, and much-needed history of the Christian Front, an organization that presages today’s far-right activity…Riveting.”—Commonweal

On January 13, 1940, FBI agents burst into the homes of seventeen members of the Christian Front, seizing guns, ammunition, and homemade bombs. J. Edgar Hoover’s charges were incendiary: the group, he alleged, was planning to incite a revolution and install a “temporary dictatorship” to stamp out Jewish and Communist influence in the United States. Interviewed in his jail cell, the front’s ringleader was unbowed: “All I can say is—long live Christ the King! Down with Communism!”

In this brilliant work of historical reconstruction, Charles Gallagher provides a crucial missing chapter in the history of the American far right. The men of the Christian Front imagined themselves to be crusaders fighting for the spiritual purification of the nation, and they were hardly alone in their beliefs.

Nazis of Copley Square chronicles the evolution of the front, the transatlantic cloak-and-dagger intelligence operations that subverted it, and the political and religious leaders who shielded it from scrutiny. A riveting tale of faith perverted to violent ends, it offers a potent warning to those who hope to curb the spread of far-right ideologies today.

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(New) Fascism
Contagion, Community, Myth
Nidesh Lawtoo
Michigan State University Press, 2019
Fascism tends to be relegated to a dark chapter of European history, but what if new forms of fascism are currently returning to the forefront of the political scene? In this book, Nidesh Lawtoo furthers his previous diagnostic of crowd behavior, identification, and mimetic contagion to account for the growing shadow cast by authoritarian leaders who rely on new media to take possession of the digital age. Donald Trump is considered here as a case study to illustrate Nietzsche’s untimely claim that, one day, “ ‘actors,’ all kinds of actors, will be the real masters.” In the process, Lawtoo joins forces with a genealogy of mimetic theorists—from Plato to Girard, through Nietzsche, Tarde, Le Bon, Freud, Bataille, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy, among others—to show that (new) fascism may not be fully “new,” let alone original; yet it effectively reloads the old problematics of mimesis via new media that have the disquieting power to turn politics itself into a fiction.
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Paths to Salvation
The National Socialist Religion
Klaus Vondung
St. Augustine's Press, 2017

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The Perfect Fascist
A Story of Love, Power, and Morality in Mussolini’s Italy
Victoria de Grazia
Harvard University Press, 2020

A New Statesman Book of the Year
Winner of the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize
Winner of the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies


“Extraordinary…I could not put it down.”
—Margaret MacMillan

“Reveals how ideology corrupts the truth, how untrammeled ambition destroys the soul, and how the vanity of white male supremacy distorts emotion, making even love a matter of state.”
—Sonia Purnell, author of A Woman of No Importance

When Attilio Teruzzi, a decorated military officer and early convert to the Fascist cause, married a rising American opera star, his good fortune seemed settled. The wedding was blessed by Mussolini himself. Yet only three years later, Teruzzi, now commander of the Black Shirts, renounced his wife. Lilliana was Jewish, and fascist Italy would soon introduce its first race laws.

The Perfect Fascist pivots from the intimate story of a tempestuous courtship and inconvenient marriage to the operatic spectacle of Mussolini’s rise and fall. It invites us to see in the vain, unscrupulous, fanatically loyal Attilio Teruzzi an exemplar of fascism’s New Man. Victoria De Grazia’s landmark history shows how the personal was always political in the fascist quest for manhood and power. In his self-serving pieties and intimate betrayals, his violence and opportunism, Teruzzi is a forefather of the illiberal politicians of today.

“The brilliance of de Grazia’s book lies in the way that she has made a page-turner of Teruzzi’s chaotic life, while providing a scholarly and engrossing portrait of the two decades of Fascist rule.”
—Caroline Moorhead, Wall Street Journal

“Original and important…A probing analysis of the fascist ‘strong man.’ De Grazia’s attention to Teruzzi’s private life, his behavior as suitor and husband, deepens and enriches our understanding of the nature of leadership in Mussolini’s regime and of masculinity, virility, and honor in Italian fascist culture.”
—Robert O. Paxton, author of The Anatomy of Fascism

“This is a perfect book!…Its two entwined narratives—one political and public, the other personal and private—help us understand why the personal is political for those who insist on reshaping people and society.”
—Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran

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The Perils of Populism
Sarah Tobias
Rutgers University Press, 2022
From Donald Trump in the U.S. to Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, and Narendra Modi in India, right-wing populist leaders have taken power in many parts of the world. While each country’s populist movement is distinct, they are united by several key features, including the presence of a boastful strongman leader and the scapegoating of vulnerable populations, especially immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, and women.
 
The Perils of Populism shows how a feminist lens can help diagnose the factors behind the global rise of right-wing populism and teach us how to resist the threat it presents to democracy. Featuring interdisciplinary essays about politics in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, and India from a variety of acclaimed theorists and activists, the volume contributes to a rapidly expanding literature on gender and the far right. Together, these chapters offer a truly intersectional analysis of the problem, addressing everything from how populism has thrived in a “post-truth” era to the ways it appeals to working-class voters looking for an alternative to neoliberalism. Yet the authors also find reasons to be hopeful, as they showcase forms of grassroots feminist activism that challenge right-wing populism by advocating for racial and economic justice.
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Persecution and Rescue
The Politics of the “Final Solution” in France, 1940-1944
Wolfgang Seibel
University of Michigan Press, 2016
In 1942, two years after invading France, the Germans implemented their policy of exterminating the Jews. In contrast to Jews in many parts of German-occupied Europe, however, the majority of Jews in France survived, thanks to opposition to the Nazi extermination policy from Church dignitaries and the moral indignation of the average Frenchmen. Seeking to maintain popular support, the Vichy Regime bargained with the Germans over the substance and extent of its collaboration, which the Germans needed in order to hold France.

Drawing on German and French sources, Wolfgang Seibel traces the twisted process of political decision-making that shaped the fate of the Jews in German-occupied France during World War II. By analyzing the German-French negotiations, he reveals the underlying logic as well as the actual course of the bargaining process as both the Vichy Regime and the Germans sought a stable relationship. Yet that relationship was continually reshaped by the progress of the war, Germany’s deteriorating prospects, France’s economic and geopolitical position, and the Vichy government’s quest for domestic political support. The Jews’ suffering intensified when the Germans had the upper hand; but when the French felt empowered, the Vichy Regime stopped collaborating in the completion of the “final solution.” Persecution and Rescue: The Politics of the “Final Solution” in France, 1940–1944 demonstrates the ways in which political circumstances can mitigate—or foster—mass crime.


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The Politics of Progressive Education
The Odenwaldschule in Nazi Germany
Dennis Shirley
Harvard University Press, 1992

In March 1933, Nazi storm troopers seized control of the Odenwaldschule, a small German boarding school near Heidelberg. Founded in 1910 by educational reformer Paul Geheeb, the Odenwaldschule was a crown jewel of the progressive education movement, renowned for its emancipatory pedagogical innovations and sweeping curricular reforms. In the tumultuous year that followed that fateful spring, Geheeb moved from an initial effort to accommodate Nazi reforms to an active opposition to the Third Reich’s transformation of the school. Convinced at last that humanistic education was all but impossible under the new regime, he emigrated to Switzerland in March 1934. There he opened a new school, the Ecole d’Humanité, which became a haven for children escaping the horrors of World War II.

In this intimate chronicle of the collision between a progressive educator and fascist ideology during Hitler’s rise to power, Dennis Shirley explores how Nazi school reforms catalyzed Geheeb’s alienation from the regime and galvanized his determination to close the school and leave Germany. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished documents, such as Geheeb’s exhaustive correspondence with government officials and transcripts of combative faculty meetings, Shirley is able to reconstruct in detail the entire drama as it unfolded. Others have examined the intellectual antecedents of Nazism and the regime’s success at developing themes from popular culture for its political purposes; Shirley goes further by analyzing the many ways in which German educators could and did respond to Nazi reforms. In the process he identifies the myriad forces that led individuals to accept or resist the regime’s transformation of education.

The Politics of Progressive Education offers a richly rewarding examination of how education in general, and progressive education in particular, fared in the turbulent political currents of Nazi Germany. It brings to light a remarkable story, hitherto untold, of one individual’s successful attempt to uphold humanistic values in the darkest of circumstances.

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Readings on Fascism and National Socialism
University of Colorado, Dept. of Philosophy
Ohio University Press, 1952

The catastrophe and holocaust brought about by the two powerful movements of fascism and national socialism will mark human life always. Now, as we feel our hatred for them, we find it difficult to understand how they could have been so powerful, how they could have appealed so strongly to millions of people of a modern age.

To understand our own times, it is necessary to understand these movements. And to understand them, we must read the basic philosophical and political documents which show the force of the ideas which moved a world to the brink of disaster.

This collection of readings has been selected to encourage students to clarify their thinking on social philosophy. They will accordingly need to determine whether the readings contain more or less coherent body of ideas which constitutes a social philosophy. They will also need to raise the more far-reaching question of whether the ideas are acceptable. To arrive at any satisfactory answer to this latter question, they will necessarily have to compare the ideas of fascism and their practical meanings with the alternatives, real and ideal, that are the substance of live philosophical issues.

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Reichsrock
The International Web of White-Power and Neo-Nazi Hate Music
Dyck, Kirsten
Rutgers University Press, 2016
From rap to folk to punk, music has often sought to shape its listeners’ political views, uniting them as a global community and inspiring them to take action. Yet the rallying potential of music can also be harnessed for sinister ends. As this groundbreaking new book reveals, white-power music has served as a key recruiting tool for neo-Nazi and racist hate groups worldwide. 
 
Reichsrock shines a light on the international white-power music industry, the fandoms it has spawned, and the virulently racist beliefs it perpetuates. Kirsten Dyck not only investigates how white-power bands and their fans have used the internet to spread their message globally, but also considers how distinctly local white-power scenes have emerged in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the United States, and many other sites. While exploring how white-power bands draw from a common well of nationalist, racist, and neo-Nazi ideologies, the book thus also illuminates how white-power musicians adapt their music to different locations, many of which have their own terms for defining whiteness and racial otherness. 
 
Closely tracking the online presence of white-power musicians and their fans, Dyck analyzes the virtual forums and media they use to articulate their hateful rhetoric. This book also demonstrates how this fandom has sparked spectacular violence in the real world, from bombings to mass shootings. Reichsrock thus sounds an urgent message about a global menace. 
 
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Revolutionary Nativism
Fascism and Culture in China, 1925-1937
Maggie Clinton
Duke University Press, 2017
In Revolutionary Nativism Maggie Clinton traces the history and cultural politics of fascist organizations that operated under the umbrella of the Chinese Nationalist Party (GMD) during the 1920s and 1930s. Clinton argues that fascism was not imported to China from Europe or Japan; rather it emerged from the charged social conditions that prevailed in the country's southern and coastal regions during the interwar period. These fascist groups were led by young militants who believed that reviving China's Confucian "national spirit" could foster the discipline and social cohesion necessary to defend China against imperialism and Communism and to develop formidable industrial and military capacities, thereby securing national strength in a competitive international arena. Fascists within the GMD deployed modernist aesthetics in their literature and art while justifying their anti-Communist violence with nativist discourse. Showing how the GMD's fascist factions popularized a virulently nationalist rhetoric that linked Confucianism with a specific path of industrial development, Clinton sheds new light on the complex dynamics of Chinese nationalism and modernity.
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The Rhetoric of Fascism
Edited by Nathan Crick
University of Alabama Press, 2022
Highlights the persuasive devices most common to fascist appeals
 
Fascism has resurfaced as one of the most pressing problems of our time. The rise of extremist parties and candidates in Europe, the United States, and around the globe has led even mainstream political commentators to begin using the term “fascism” to describe dangerous movements that have revived and repackaged many of the strategies long thought to have been relegated to the margins of political rhetoric. No longer just confined to the state regimes of the past, fascism thrives today as a globally self-augmenting, self-propagating rhetorical phenomenon with a variety of faces and expressions.

The Rhetoric of Fascism defines and interprets the common persuasive devices that characterize fascist discourse to understand the nature of its enduring appeal. By approaching fascism from a rhetorical perspective, this volume complements established political and sociological understandings of fascism as a movement or regime. A rhetorical approach studies fascism less as a party one joins than as a set of persuasive strategies one adopts. Fascism spreads precisely because it is not a coherent entity. Instead, it exists as a loosely bound and often contradictory collection of persuasive trajectories that have attained enough coherence to mobilize and channel the passions of a self-constituted mass of individuals.

Introductory chapters focus on general theories of fascism drawn from twentieth-century history and theory. Contributors investigate specific historical figures and their relationship to contemporary rhetorics, focusing on a specific rhetorical device that is characteristic of fascist rhetoric. A common thread throughout every chapter is that fascist devices are appealing because they speak to us in the familiar language of our culture. As we are seduced by one device at a time, we soon find ourselves part of a movement, a group, or a campaign that makes us act in ways we might never have imagined. This volume reveals that fascism may be closer to home than we think.

CONTRIBUTORS
Patrick D. Anderson / Rya Butterfield / Nathan Crick / Elizabeth R. Earle / Zac Gershberg / Stephen J. Hartnett / Marie-Odile N. Hobeika / Sean Illing / Jacob A. Miller / Fernando Ismael Quiñones Valdivia / Patricia Roberts-Miller / Raquel M. Robvais / Bradley A. Serber / Ryan Skinnell
 
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Screen Nazis
Cinema, History, and Democracy
Sabine Hake
University of Wisconsin Press, 2012

From the late 1930s to the early twenty-first century, European and American filmmakers have displayed an enduring fascination with Nazi leaders, rituals, and symbols, making scores of films from Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) and Watch on the Rhine (1943) through Des Teufels General (The Devil’s General, 1955) and Pasqualino settebellezze (Seven Beauties, 1975), up to Der Untergang (Downfall, 2004), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and beyond.
    Probing the emotional sources and effects of this fascination, Sabine Hake looks at the historical relationship between film and fascism and its far-reaching implications for mass culture, media society, and political life. In confronting the specter and spectacle of fascist power, these films not only depict historical figures and events but also demand emotional responses from their audiences, infusing the abstract ideals of democracy, liberalism, and pluralism with new meaning and relevance.
    Hake underscores her argument with a comprehensive discussion of films, including perspectives on production history, film authorship, reception history, and questions of performance, spectatorship, and intertextuality. Chapters focus on the Hollywood anti-Nazi films of the 1940s, the West German anti-Nazi films of the 1950s, the East German anti-fascist films of the 1960s, the Italian “Naziploitation” films of the 1970s, and issues related to fascist aesthetics, the ethics of resistance, and questions of historicization in films of the 1980s–2000s from the United States and numerous European countries.

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Shaping the New Man
Youth Training Regimes in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany
Alessio Ponzio
University of Wisconsin Press, 2017
Despite their undeniable importance, the leaders of the Fascist and Nazi youth organizations have received little attention from historians. In Shaping the New Man, Alessio Ponzio uncovers the largely untold story of the training and education of these crucial protagonists of the Fascist and Nazi regimes, and he examines more broadly the structures, ideologies, rhetoric, and aspirations of youth organizations in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

Ponzio shows how the Italian Fascists' pedagogical practices influenced the origin and evolution of the Hitler Youth. He dissects similarities and differences in the training processes of the youth leaders of the Opera Nazionale Balilla, Gioventù Italiana del Littorio, and Hitlerjugend. And, he explores the transnational institutional interactions and mutual cooperation that flourished between Mussolini's and Hitler's youth organizations in the 1930s and 1940s.

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A Small City in France
Françoise Gaspard
Harvard University Press, 1995

The picturesque town of Dreux, 60 miles west of Paris, quietly entered history in 1821, when Victor Hugo won the hand of his beloved there. Another century and a half would pass before the town made history again, but this time there was nothing quiet about it. In 1983, Jean-François Le Pen’s National Front candidates made a startling electoral gain in the Dreux region. Its liberal traditions had ended abruptly. With the radical right controlling the municipal council and the deputy mayor’s office, Dreux became the forerunner of neofascist advances all across the nation. How could it happen?

A trained historian, Françoise Gaspard was born in Dreux and served as the city’s socialist mayor from 1977 to 1983. She brings this experience to bear in her study, giving us an evocative picture of the town in all its particularity and at the same time fitting it into the broader context. Local history, collective memory, political life, the role of personality, partisanship, and rumor, the claims of newcomers and oldtimers, Muslims and Catholics: Gaspard sifts through these factors as she crafts a clear and rousing account of the conditions that brought the National Front to power. Viewed amid the explosive consequences of recent demographic and economic transformations, Dreux, with a population of about 30,000, is facing big-city problems: class conflict, unemployment, racism. This is a book about the decline of small-town “virtues” and, more ominously, the democratic ideal in France. With its disturbing implications for other European nations and the United States, it could well be a parable for our time.

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Spectres of Fascism
Historical, Theoretical and International Perspectives
Samir Gandesha
Pluto Press, 2020
Concerns over the rise of fascism have been preoccupied with the Trump presidency and the Brexit vote in the UK, yet, globally, we are witnessing a turn towards anti-democratic and illiberal forces. From the tragic denouement of the Egyptian Revolution to the consolidation of the so-called Gujarat Model in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the consolidation of the power of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, fascist ideology, aesthetics and fascist personalities appear across the globe. Spectres of Fascism makes a significant contribution to the unfolding discussion on whether what we are witnessing today is best understood as a return to classic twentieth-century ‘fascism,’ or some species of what has been called ‘post-fascism.’ Applying a uniquely global perspective, it combines analyses of historical contexts, theoretical approaches and contemporary geopolitics.
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Supreme Courts Under Nazi Occupation
Derk Venema
Amsterdam University Press, 2023
This is the first extensive treatment of leading judicial institutions under Nazi rule in WWII. It focusses on all democratic countries under German occupation, and provides the details for answering questions like: how can law serve as an instrument of defence against an oppressive regime? Are the courts always the guardians of democracy and rule of law? What role was there for international law? How did the courts deal with dismissals, new appointees, new courts, forced German ordinances versus national law? How did judges justify their actions, help citizens, appease the enemy, protest against injustice? Experts from all democracies that were occupied by the Nazis paint vivid pictures of oppression, collaboration, and resistance. The results are interpreted in a socio-legal framework introducing the concept of ‘moral hygiene’ to explain the clash between normative and descriptive approaches in public opinion and scholarship concerning officials’ behaviour in war-time.
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They Thought They Were Free
The Germans, 1933–45
Milton Mayer
University of Chicago Press, 2017
“When this book was first published it received some attention from the critics but none at all from the public. Nazism was finished in the bunker in Berlin and its death warrant signed on the bench at Nuremberg.”
 
That’s Milton Mayer, writing in a foreword to the 1966 edition of They Thought They Were Free. He’s right about the critics: the book was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1956. General readers may have been slower to take notice, but over time they did—what we’ve seen over decades is that any time people, across the political spectrum, start to feel that freedom is threatened, the book experiences a ripple of word-of-mouth interest. And that interest has never been more prominent or potent than what we’ve seen in the past year.
 
They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany. Mayer’s book is a study of ten Germans and their lives from 1933-45, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany. Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name “Kronenberg.” “These ten men were not men of distinction,” Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party; Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis. His discussions with them of Nazism, the rise of the Reich, and mass complicity with evil became the backbone of this book, an indictment of the ordinary German that is all the more powerful for its refusal to let the rest of us pretend that our moment, our society, our country are fundamentally immune.
 
A new foreword to this edition by eminent historian of the Reich Richard J. Evans puts the book in historical and contemporary context. We live in an age of fervid politics and hyperbolic rhetoric. They Thought They Were Free cuts through that, revealing instead the slow, quiet accretions of change, complicity, and abdication of moral authority that quietly mark the rise of evil.
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They Thought They Were Free
The Germans, 1933-45
Milton Mayer
University of Chicago Press, 1966
First published in 1955, They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany. Mayer’s book is a study of ten Germans and their lives from 1933-45, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany. Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name “Kronenberg.” “These ten men were not men of distinction,” Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party; Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.”--from Chapter 13, “But Then It Was Too Late”
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The Totalitarian Experience
Tzvetan Todorov
Seagull Books, 2011
The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as many other communist totalitarian regimes around the world. But it would be naive to assume that this historic, symbolic event and its aftermath have completely rid the world of totalitarianism. Instead, we should ask, what is the totalitarian experience and how does it survive today?
 
This is the imposing question raised by acclaimed philosopher and writer Tzvetan Todorov in this compact, highly personal essay. Here, he recounts his own experiences with totalitarianism in his native Bulgaria and discusses the books he has written in the last twenty years that were devoted to examining such regimes, such as Voices from the Gulag, his influential analysis of Stalinist concentration camps. Through this retrospective investigation, Todorov offers a historical look at communism. He brings together and distills his extensive oeuvre to reveal the essence of totalitarian ideology, the characteristics of daily life under communism, and the irony of democratic messianism.
 
Bringing his thoughts and insights up to the present, Todorov explores how economic ultraliberalism may be considered just another form of totalitarianism. And his conclusion leads us to ask ourselves another challenging question: Are liberal democratic societies actually totalitarian experiences in disguise?
 
 “In this honed, finely calibrated essay, Todorov refutes the notion that good can be imposed by force. More efficient is to embody one’s values and demonstrate their worth. . . . This is a concise and eloquent defence of what makes us truly human.”—Age, on Torture and the War on Terror

 
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An Unchosen People
Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland
Kenneth B. Moss
Harvard University Press, 2021

A revisionist account of interwar Europe’s largest Jewish community that upends histories of Jewish agency to rediscover reckonings with nationalism’s pathologies, diaspora’s fragility, Zionism’s promises, and the necessity of choice.

What did the future hold for interwar Europe’s largest Jewish community, the font of global Jewish hopes? When intrepid analysts asked these questions on the cusp of the 1930s, they discovered a Polish Jewry reckoning with “no tomorrow.” Assailed by antisemitism and witnessing liberalism’s collapse, some Polish Jews looked past progressive hopes or religious certainties to investigate what the nation-state was becoming, what powers minority communities really possessed, and where a future might be found—and for whom.

The story of modern Jewry is often told as one of creativity and contestation. Kenneth B. Moss traces instead a late Jewish reckoning with diasporic vulnerability, nationalism’s terrible potencies, Zionism’s promises, and the necessity of choice. Moss examines the works of Polish Jewry’s most searching thinkers as they confronted political irrationality, state crisis, and the limits of resistance. He reconstructs the desperate creativity of activists seeking to counter despair where they could not redress its causes. And he recovers a lost grassroots history of critical thought and political searching among ordinary Jews, young and powerless, as they struggled to find a viable future for themselves—in Palestine if not in Poland, individually if not communally.

Focusing not on ideals but on a search for realism, Moss recasts the history of modern Jewish political thought. Where much scholarship seeks Jewish agency over a collective future, An Unchosen People recovers a darker tradition characterized by painful tradeoffs amid a harrowing political reality, making Polish Jewry a paradigmatic example of the minority experience endemic to the nation-state.

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Visualizing Fascism
The Twentieth-Century Rise of the Global Right
Julia Adeney Thomas and Geoff Eley, editors
Duke University Press, 2020
Visualizing Fascism argues that fascism was not merely a domestic menace in a few European nations, but arose as a genuinely global phenomenon in the early twentieth century. Contributors use visual materials to explore fascism's populist appeal in settings around the world, including China, Japan, South Africa, Slovakia, and Spain. This visual strategy allows readers to see the transnational rise of the right as it fed off the agitated energies of modernity and mobilized shared political and aesthetic tropes. This volume also considers the postwar aftermath as antifascist art forms were depoliticized and repurposed in the West. More commonly, analyses of fascism focus on Italy and Germany alone and on institutions like fascist parties, but that approach truncates our understanding of the way fascism was indebted to colonialism and internationalism with all their attendant grievances and aspirations. Using photography, graphic arts, architecture, monuments, and film—rather than written documents alone—produces a portable concept of fascism, useful for grappling with the upsurge of the global right a century ago—and today.

Contributors. Nadya Bair, Paul D. Barclay, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Maggie Clinton, Geoff Eley, Lutz Koepnick, Ethan Mark, Bertrand Metton, Lorena Rizzo, Julia Adeney Thomas, Claire Zimmerman
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