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Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity

3.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 000-0814731244
ISBN-10: 0814731244
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This comprehensive inquiry examines the disturbing historical and contemporary connections between certain religious cults and Nazi ideology. Goodrick-Clarke (Hitler's Priestess; The Occult Roots of Nazism) begins with a consideration of the origins of American neo-Nazism and ends with a thorough discussion of well-known, current far-right groups: the European skinheads, the Aryan Nations and the World Church of the Creator movement, which inspired the 1999 shooting spree in the Midwest. In between, the author focuses on the intersection between Nazi ideology and religious and cultural oddities, showing, for example, how some Nazi leaders, particularly Heinrich Himmler, were obsessed with esoterica and strange historical justifications for pro-Aryan racial theory. Over the past 75 years, Nazi ideology has been mixed with Hinduism, magic, alchemy and the occult as a rebellion against the status quo. In Nazi Satanism, "the swastika and Third Reich imagery join black candles, skulls and magical pentagrams in a tableau of ritualized transgression." And during the post-WWII era, many fascists saw UFO sightings as an indication that Nazis would come back to rule the world. Throughout, Goodrick-Clarke catalogues the ideologies, histories, personalities and appeals of the groups, most of which have always found young white men to be their most receptive audience. There's little evaluation of the potential that the small, splinter groups now active might have to commit future atrocities, but the author adds to our knowledge of the broad, frightening tentacles of Nazi ideology. Illus.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Goodrick-Clarke's The Occult Roots of Nazism examined the influence of late 19th- and early 20th-century German and pagan mysticism on National Socialist thought. This sequel, based on the writings of past and contemporary adherents of these ideas, continues this study among modern American and European racist groups. The new angle is the glorification of Hitler and Nazism. Goodrick-Clarke shows how a strange mix of racism, paganism, Eastern religion, Christianity, Satanism, rock music, and science fiction is being used to support the revival of fascist ideas; adherents see Hitler himself as an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu who survived World War II at a secret German flying-saucer base located in Antarctica. This disturbing work presents a troubling picture of the mindset of the modern Far Right. For all libraries. Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814731244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814731246
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,472,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke has written two outstanding books on Nazism and its links to religious/occult philosophies and figures: "The Occult Roots of Nazism" and "Hitler's Priestess." In both of those previous books (the first based on his doctoral dissertation at Oxford), he engaged in prodigious original source research and showed a bright light on subjects that had previously received either little attention or sloppy sensationalistic treatment.
If "Black Sun" is a trifle disappointing, it is so only by comparision with his own earlier achievements. This latest work is much more journalistic and relies, unfortunately, on others' research more often than not. Moreover, Goodrick-Clarke, in attempting a survey of current aryan/Neo-Nazi/Satanic/far right groups and writings, ends up covering ground already covered in books like Joscelyn Godwin's "Arktos," Kevin Coogan's "Dreamer of the Day," and his own "Hitler's Priestess" (which is about Savitri Devi, who combined Hinduism and Hitlerism).
It is not as if Goodrick-Clarke didn't spend his time in the trenches: it appears that he engaged in extensive correspondence with a number of his subjects and, as always, he has obviously read and digested much of the material that he summarizes in a clear-cut fashion. His chapter on Miguel Serrano breaks new ground in reporting on the extent of that author/diplomat's eccentric Hitler worship. But on other figures of the neo-nazi fringe, such as David Myatt, one is left with the impression that Goodrick-Clarke may have given too much credence to their own self-presentation or, conversely, to the hyperbole of their critics.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an obvious attempt at an 'apology' for his most popular book, _The Occult Roots of Nazism_, which became required reading for many of the neo-Nazi groups he speaks of in his latest offering. You would think Goodrick-Clarke would have seen this coming after sensationalising the title from its original (his doctoral thesis), and then plastering the black and red front cover with the swastika and dagger emblem of the Thule Society!
_Black Sun_ is simply an overview of the very marginalized groups that form the extreme neo-Nazi right, and a lot of the material is regurgitated from his book on Savitri Devi.
Nazi/UFO's/Antarctica/The Coming Race etc... is a very fun topic, but trying to ascribe its loony adherents with the terrorist label is sensationalism at best, and completely factually inaccurate at worst.
The nice front cover featuring a 'Black Sun' struck with the Sig rune will sell many copies at Aryan white-power rallies until they figure out what it's really about.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this book, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke tries to give an account of the continuation of much of the Nazi philosophy after the demise of the Third Reich. However, after his previous work _The Occult Roots of Nazism_ this book is surely a large disappointment. The book presents chapters on the American NeoNazis (especially Rockwell), British Nazis (including Colin Jordan and "Combat 18"), Julius Evola, Francis Parker Yockey and James Madole, Savitri Devi, a collection of "mysterious" and occult phenomena surrounding the Third Reich, Wilhelm Landig, UFOs and Antarctic underground bases, Miguel Serrano, black metal, Nazi Satanism, Christian Identity, Nordic paganism, and conspiracy beliefs regarding the New World Order. Unfortunately, there is very little holding this book together and it is rather poorly written. Although the book is entertaining, some of the weirdest things you are likely to read about, it fails to achieve any sort of conclusion at all and resorts to gratuitous references to terrorism (the events of September 11, unconnected with Nazism at all).
For a much better account of NeoNazi and far right beliefs read either: _Arktos_ by Joscelyn Godwin or _Dreamer of the Day_ by Kevin Coogan.
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Format: Hardcover
Savvy fundraisers that they are, it has always been the policy of watchdog groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center to pretend that their 'intelligence gathering' is necessary to ferret out sinister neo-Nazi conspirators, tucked away within ultra-secret underground enclaves and communicating through hidden networks only the watchdogs can sniff out. The reality, of course, is that anyone with access to the Internet can get the goods on the secret Aryans. The truly adventurous hate-hunter need only open a P.O. Box, sign a few postcards with a friendly "Sieg Heil," and prepare to be inundated in a sea of third-generation Xeroxed flyers, poorly-written fanzines, homemade stickers and other powerful and dangerous hate propaganda. The secret Aryans love to talk about themselves and their ideas. Despite Goodrick-Clarke's calculated and constant allusions to "terrorism," that's pretty much all they ever do.
Which brings us to the obvious question: Why does one get the impression that Goodrick-Clarke hasn't talked to any of these people? How is it that virtually every "factual" statement in his book is confused or incorrect? And what does George Lincoln Rockwell -- a fairly conventional, old-timey hatemonger in a Nazi Halloween costume -- have to do with "esoteric cults?"

Goodrick-Clarke is at his worst when trying to maneuver his way through the various youth culture phenomena vaguely relevant to his topic. This is a trait I've noticed with other academic writers, who tend to lose their bearings even around more innocuous genres like Punk Rock or Hip-Hop. The charitable explanation is that a tweedy old fogey like Goodrick-Clarke is simply out of his element.
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