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Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America [Paperback]

by Bertram Gross
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 1999 0896081494 978-0896081499
Illuminates the increasing collusion between Big Government and Big Business to "manage" our society in the interests of the elite.

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Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America + Socialism: Past and Future + Alienation: Marx's Conception of Man in a Capitalist Society (Cambridge Studies in the History and Theory of Politics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press (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: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get this book while you can February 7, 2001
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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98 of 102 people found the following review helpful
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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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is one of the best books on elite corruption. October 29, 1998
By A Customer
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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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bewildering Truth
American Fascism will not necessarily come wrapped in a cross, a hammer or a death's head. It will not be promoted by single agency or a single leader. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Adam Alonzi
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heady Read, but Well Worth It.
Bertram Gross predicted the onset of the world we are living in more than 30 years ago. The book is a heady read, but well worth it to understand modern capitalism and its effects... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Anthony G Myers
1.0 out of 5 stars Gross misunderstands fascism
See Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, to see how wrong Gross is, and you will see why Gross and the political tradition he represents have more in common with fascism than the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by elarga
5.0 out of 5 stars We have learned NOTHING!
Sad to say, Gross's predictions and warnings have joined those of the distopian novelists; they have been taken as a roadmap, not a warning. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Richard R. Rye
5.0 out of 5 stars Constantly changing country
This book is well written. it puts a lot between its pages. Surely we all can agree that this country is not the country we grew up in. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Gene Danforth
5.0 out of 5 stars Thirty One Years Later
I read this book when it first came out in 1980. It more than stands the test of time as a more recent second read of the book clearly demonstrates just how prescient the author... Read more
Published on February 25, 2011 by Briggsdan
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution of Capitaism
This book is not politically oriented--not pro left or right.
It's also not a conspiracy theory book. Conspiracies aren't required for what has and is occurring. Read more
Published on August 25, 2009 by R. Hantz
5.0 out of 5 stars Call it what you want, but the American Republic is...GONE...
This book is an excellent study by Bertram Gross on the type of fascism that has strangled the American Republic. Read more
Published on June 26, 2008 by Mark Watterson
4.0 out of 5 stars An amazing look af the future passed..
I discovered this book about 12 years ago in one of those old used/discontinued bookstores that don't exist anymore. Read more
Published on April 4, 2008 by David H. Stern
5.0 out of 5 stars The State Of Our Gavernment
How much freedom do you think you have? Very little. Did you know some 90% of what the government robs us of each pay day finds its way into the hands of the rich, and Giant... Read more
Published on April 10, 2007 by Book & Music Lover
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