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Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America Paperback – July 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0896081499 ISBN-10: 0896081494 Edition: First Printing

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press; First Printing edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896081494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896081499
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,005,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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This is a wonderful book, and one that is a great, thought-provoking read.
Barron Laycock
This 400-page book is loaded with analysis of fascism and how America properly fits in.
Mark Watterson
This book profoundly changed my perception of modern Western civilization.
R. Hantz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 92 people found the following review helpful By daibhidh on February 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
I ran across this book when I was 17; it spooked me then. I decided to pick it up again and see how far we've come, and I am amazed at how on the mark Bertram Gross was in his analysis of elite control of America.
These days, even reading a book like this likely gets you branded a "conspiracy theorist" but Gross points out several times he's not referring to conspiracies -- the Big Government/Big Business combine that is the fueling engine of fascism is alive and well. Indeed, stronger than ever in this country.
This book is a deep, frightening account of elite power structures in America. Friendly fascism is fascism with a friendly face -- not so much jackboots, mass rallies, and so forth that comprise the popular stereotype of fascism, but rather an insidious, public-relations savvy manipulation of power for profit.
What impresses me most is how thorough and cogent Gross's analysis is, and I am sad more people haven't read this book. While it came out in 1980, anybody who is politically aware today will see that, rather than being dated, Gross was definitely ahead of his time in his thinking. This is a big book (@400 pages), and densely packed with information, but it is definitely worth your time.
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103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
I lost my trusty old `dogged-eared' copy of this wonderful classic in a house fire a couple of years ago, and only recently found a used hardcover copy at the wonderful independent bookstore in Peterborough; The Toadstool Bookstore. Considering how relevant the book is to events transpiring in this country now, it was a fortuitous discovery. This is a relatively short but extremely cogent and well-argued treatise on the rise of a form of fascistic thought and social politics in late 20th century America. Author Bertram Gross' thesis is quite straightforward; the power elite that comprises the corporate, governmental and military superstructure of the country is increasingly inclined to employ every element in their formidable arsenal of `friendly persuasion' to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans through what Gross refers to as "friendly fascism".
For anyone familiar with modern social theory, it is apparent that the author's thesis is a quite clever and accurate extension of sociologist C. Wright Mills' well known notions of what came to be known as the `mass society' theory. This was an essential aspect of Mills' famous theory of the power elite as forwarded in a book with the same title. Like social theorist G. William Domhoff ("The Higher Circles"), Professor Gross shows how the deceptively friendly and engaging style of the powers that be actually constitute an increasingly dangerous threat to the democratic process and to the long-term survival of our precious civil liberties.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
Friendly Fascism, by Bertram Gross, is an excellent, gripping, knowledgeable and illuminating book by a man who served as an insider in the system (the White House) and evolved to the point that he felt the system itself was the problem, and both needed exposing (as to its anatomy and tactics, never discussed publically in the mass media or in our educational institutions) and its need for change. His book was a warning as to the seeds of a new brand of fascism he clearly saw evolving in this country (written during the Reagan administration), which was also warned against, prophetically, in Romano Guardini's early books, The End of the Modern World, The World and the Person, Power and Responsibility, Letters from Lake Como, and The Virtues (some of which are still out of print). He brilliantly analyzes the hierarchy of the system, where real power lies, how it is maintained, the role of the public in all this, perhaps - most importantly - the issue of wealth and control of information. When I read this book I felt great joy - because he succeeded in getting it into print and because what he had to say was so desperately needed. I even feel this more strongly now - my only complaint is that what he said was beginning was, I feel, understated - it has evolved and progressed farther than that and many of his warnings (as surveillance) are now "accepted" ways of conducting high-level business, are, in fact, the foundation of it in many ways. Whole industries (as mass media) are becoming built upon this, hidden behind Gross's brilliant explanation of "triple speak" (truth, only whispered at elite gatherings, myth, and jargon - the latter two fed to the public to confuse and distract.) It is an exciting, brilliant and very necessary book, right on the mark, and highly recommended.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1996
Format: Paperback
At the close of the Carter administration, Bertram Gross was less concerned about Billygate or an October Surprise than about the vision he had for America's future.
Now with the hindsight of sixteen years, it is readily apparent how talented a prophet Dr. Gross was. His premise was simple: Big Business and Big Government have
realized that with the increasing docility of Americans, along with their demand for mindless consumption, no longer need to resort to the violent oppression of its
citizens that has been the hallmark of past authoritarian states. Today, it is much kinder and gentler (and, arguably, more effective) to assert control through
Big Media, what Chomsky would refer to as Manufacturing Consent. No more messy clubbings of uppity citizens darkening the screens of your evening news and no real
access to the media for those outside of Big Government/Business. Now controlling all we see as real, these forces are capable of molding reality into their own image,
marginalizing those outside their own ranks, and rendering any action, as individuals or collective citizens, impotent. Yet this is all done with a smile, painted just
like Ronald's, and just as faux; with a grandfatherly arm around the shoulder as Reagan took America under his wing; and with Big Business' promises of more and better
services and products to keep our minds dull and occupied, starving for the next opportunity to consume. Yes, Gross saw the future nearly two decades ago, and it has
quietly strolled to our doorstep. Can't you hear the knocking? Or is that just the Domino's delivery driver?
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