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Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 8, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 777 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, January 8, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this provocative and well-researched book, Goldberg probes modern liberalism's spooky origins in early 20th-century fascist politics. With chapter titles such as Adolf Hitler: Man of the Left and Brave New Village: Hillary Clinton and the Meaning of Liberal Fascism—Goldberg argues that fascism has always been a phenomenon of the left. This is Goldberg's first book, and he wisely curbs his wry National Review style. Goldberg's study of the conceptual overlap between fascism and ideas emanating from the environmental movement, Hollywood, the Democratic Party and what he calls other left-wing organs is shocking and hilarious. He lays low such lights of liberal history as Margaret Sanger, apparently a radical eugenicist, and JFK, whose cult of personality, according to Goldberg, reeks of fascist political theater. Much of this will be music to conservatives' ears, but other readers may be stopped cold by the parallels Goldberg draws between Nazi Germany and the New Deal. The book's tone suffers as it oscillates between revisionist historical analyses and the application of fascist themes to American popular culture; nonetheless, the controversial arc Goldberg draws from Mussolini to The Matrix is well-researched, seriously argued—and funny. (Jan. 8)
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"Certain to attract interest...across the political spectrum." ---Booklist Starred Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385511841
  • ASIN: B002T450BO
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (777 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,460,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David McCune VINE VOICE on January 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
And boy, does Jonah Goldberg have himself some enemies.

It was inevitable that the review section for Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" would degenerate into the Mother of all Flame Wars. The advance dislike for this book simmered for months, and now the floodgates for negative reviews are open. I'd advise all potential readers of this book to bear in mind how few of the negative reviews appear to reflect a reading of the book.

For those willing to give Goldberg the chance, he offers the following thesis: that the label fascist has its roots in the governing philosophies of Italy's National Fascist Party and Germany's National Socialist (Nazi) Party. He argues that there has been a false duality created between the Soviet Socialists of the USSR and the socialists united under the fascists in Italy and Germany. He argues that the totalitarian impulse, the philosophy of state control of decisions taking priority over individual freedoms, is the core uniting principle behind these movements, and he argues that the ongoing home of such statism is in what has come to be known as the "liberal" politics of the modern progressive movement. As you can imagine, that doesn't sit very well with the targets of his argument (hence the rain of 1-star reviews).

I'd encourage open minded readers of all backgrounds to read Goldberg's book and address his arguments. I find his conversational and somewhat informal style to be witty and readable. That said, longtime Goldberg fans should know that this is not a book-length "G-File" (the hip and irreverent column he wrote for National Review Online). This is a serious scholarly work, and it deserves to be read and judged as such. Goldberg is attempting to right a historical injustice.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent history book! Jonah Goldberg does an excellent job explaining and proving the intrinsic and direct link between fascism in general, Italian fascism and the 20th or 21st century progressivism and actually other forms of socialism (nazism, hitlerism, communism, stalinism, etc.).
I'd highly recommend this book to everybody regardless of their political orientation. If you are a modern liberal (not a classic liberal) you benefit by better understanding who you are and what your ideology actually is. If you are an American conservative or libertarian (or a classic liberal) you will become more informed and be able to better debate a liberal.
Frankly, considering the importance of the information this book brings forth, I'd make it mandatory reading for seniors in high school or at least for for college students of journalism, political studies and related fields.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, allow me to say that I have purchased and read this book -- something I believe few, if any, of the negative reviewers have done.

This is an important work, tracing the intellectual development of the idea that the all-powerful people's State should always trump the individual and be in firm control of all aspects of the population's culture, education, defense or military expansion, information, health and economy, from its modern beginnings under Wilson to the currently epoused nanny state. One could go further back to the French Revolution or further to Thomas More, of course, but given the deplorable state of history knowledge in the US, this might well be counter-productive. Monarchies need not be considered as they are not states that derive their legitimacy from the people -- but rather from God and inheritance.

The most negative aspect of this book is its title, "Liberal Fascism." A careful reader will learn what is meant by the author, but the vast majority will simply see the juxtaposition of the two words, "Liberal" and "Fascism" and read into this anything their pre-conceived ideas suggest. Actually, the author meant to describe something like "Benevolent Fascism", "Soft Fascism", "Smiley-Face Fascism", or my favorite, "Fuzzy Fascism" (e.g. Fascism that will not hurt you.) The word "Liberal" is used to put a more moderate or liberal face on Fascism, something more appropriate to nanny-state fascism. If the reader misinterprets the title, then little rational discussion can ensue.

The strengths of the book are in its rediscovery of the truly disturbing policies of the Wilson administration in 1917 and 1918 whereby opponents of his administration and policies were brutally suppressed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” to be extraordinarily informative and educational effort.

IMO, the most salient point, driven home repeatedly by Mr. Goldberg, is the notion that sporting the ‘Liberal’ label in the 21st century in no way suggests that the wearer advocates for “liberal democracy”. Mr. Goldberg clearly believes that the opposite is rather the case i.e. that many 21st century North American ‘liberals’ have more in common with Benito Mussolini and/or Adolf Hitler than he/she has with Thomas Jefferson.

The book’s analytical point of departure begins with the precursor of today’s ‘liberal’ era in that so-called era of ‘progressivism’ which first became prominent in the early 20th century. Goldberg devotes significant numbers of lines to examining the incipient underpinnings of today's liberal-fascism as they evolved during the Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt years. Published in 2008, Goldberg’s analysis therefore encompasses some 100 years of North American history, and I found his analysis to be both thorough and credible.

As mentioned at the top, IMO, this book is at once both informative and educational. That said, it is sufficiently, and thankfully, free of excessive academic pedanticism - which allows one to readily appreciate its content.
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