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The Mass Psychology of Fascism Paperback – November 1, 1980


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 3 edition (November 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374508844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374508845
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Wilhelm Reich, a native of Austria, was born in 1897. His many other works include Listen, Little Man!, Function of the Orgasm, and Character Analysis. He died in 1957.

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Customer Reviews

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Makes interesting points about sexually based mass hysteria.
Amazon Customer
The reader will undergo a devestating re-evaluation of the role of sexual morality in everday life that is continually overlooked by both layman and acadamics.
Greg Klassen
It's very interesting watching an author explore his theories in a fictional setting.
Robert Olsen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Greg Klassen on May 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book will force the reader to reflect on their own presupposed sexual morality. Reich inadvertently develops a formula for the Nietzschian over-man. As the first, and probably the most thought-out of the Freudian Left, Reich criticizes "dogmatic Marxism" and (to the joy of Marx) gives Maxism a new look without the dictation of unfounded morality. Not to be misunderstood as a nihilist, Reich calls for the reader to sever the ambilical cord of morality and take responsiblity for his or her desires.
Reich undertakes a comprehensive analysis of the capitalist identity, or a dictatoriship like such as the Nazis: a hardened and repressed character, incapable of understanding its desires apart from destruction and conquest. It is also clear that he intended this analysis to be applied to the American way of life.
Few authors are as capable of making both psychoanalysis and Marxism as accessible as Reich. However, this results in no compromise of depth. The reader will undergo a devestating re-evaluation of the role of sexual morality in everday life that is continually overlooked by both layman and acadamics.
In his early years, while under the wing of Freud, Reich learned some bad habits in the overuse of metaphor. Taking this in stride however, "The Mass Psychology of Fascism" is one of the most usefull tools for understanding the inherent relations between fascism, capitalism and morality. In it, he forsees the comodification of the body image and the development of the consumer identity through the corruption of human sexuality.
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to read an outstanding analysis of why conservative "family values" politics are essential to capitalist society and how they can be defeated by a struggle for women's rights, sexual freedom, and true liberation, read The Mass Pyschology of Fascism.

This work is a product of the marriage of the revolutionary political spirit that erupted in Central Europe with the Bolshevik revolution and the series of near revolutions in the countries Reich lived in until the Hitler Victory in 1933--Hungary, Austria, and Germany--with the great discovery by the Freudians that pathology was a product of patriarchial society and its sexual repression.

In the 1920s and 1930s Reich took Freudianism a step further by pointing out that all the non-materialist, drives, complexes, and factors Freud invented to reconcile his discovery of sexual repression and family produced insanity with conservative views about "family values" were invalid ideologically driven pseudoscience. Reich pointed to the fact that Marxists and anthropologists from Morgan in the 19th Century to Malinowski in Reich's time had discovered a pre Patriarchal stage of development predating patriarchy and had also discovered in these socieities or remnants of them, little of the sexual repression Freud postulated was required to maintain society.

So Reich set out in his study of pyschology and in his intervention in the working class political movement of Central Europe to fight for sexual freedom, for women's rights, and for the ending of imperialist and capitalist society.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 1997
Format: Paperback
Definitely a must-read for anyone concerned with freedom of thought and the development of a rational, just society. Reich is superb, delivering radical thoughts with rational explanations that force one to think even if one doesn't agree. Starting with the basic question of why the National Socialists came to power in Germany in the 1930s, Reich continues with a critique of modern society in general and examines the cultural implications of our attitudes towards sex, religion, the family, and the state. This is one of the few books that everyone should read at least once (if not twice).
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Elliot Ridgewell on October 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's quite worrying how much of this book is still urgently relevant today. Whatever your views on Reich's conception of a universal 'orgone energy' (of which you need no understanding to comprehend the most pertinent points of the book, anyway) it's difficult to deny the main focus points here: that thousands of years of authoritarian, patriarchal society has left man 'muscularly armoured' against natural sexuality; that the masses are incapable of true freedom and need a father figure to guide them; and that the core reason that revolutions ultimately fail to bring true freedom is because they fail to address the fact that man has largely become *incapable* of freedom, and so fail to seek a remedy for this situation.

A key point is that when natural, self-regulated sexuality is oppressed by society -- and so suppressed by the individual -- this gratification must be found elsewhere, and so is largely funneled into mystical experiences, causing masses of people to have an irrational structure (in short, leaving them ill-equipped to think for themselves). Thus, as highlighted powerfully by the rise of National Socialism in early Twentieth Century Germany, the masses -- incapable of thinking in a truly rational way -- can be stirred by purely emotional and mystical propaganda, even when it contradicts their own best interests. Reich illustrates how the patriarchal household mirrors wider society, and engenders and supports religious mysticism and irrational nationalism; with the father figure representing both God and Homeland/Fatherland, for example.
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