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Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change Paperback – June 2, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Brilliant, insightful, and important.” —New York Sun
“Well-researched, seriously argued, and funny.” —Publishers Weekly“Bold and witty… [Goldberg] makes a persuasive case that fascism was from the beginning a movement of the left.” —New York Post“Jonah Goldberg is the first historian to detail the havoc this spin of all spins has played upon Western thought for the past seventy-five years, very much including the present moment.” —Tom Wolfe
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The premise of this book is so idiotic and historically inaccurate it's embarrassing. Arguing the Nazis were leftist and socialist?? Did the author go to school? Read morePublished 10 days ago by searoses
A well thought out book. Very helpful in illustrating the core of fascism and why it is alive as a worldview and what the intentions are of such views. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Bruce A. Benning
Excellent information within. Jonah did a masterful job of describing the new leftists with actual facts. Highly recommended to understand liberals.Published 1 month ago by lorancarlson
This book is a must read for any conservative who does not know that liberals used to be progressives. I suspect, however, that the author is what he calls a “classical liberal. Read morePublished 1 month ago by David Roemer
“Liberal Fascism” is really a history book, not the book of political analysis I expected it to be. I didn’t love this book (written in 2007—apparently a 2009 version is updated... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Adam Wayne
While Jonah Goldberg presents a detailed and enlightening history of the progressive and fascist movements, proving that they are really one in the same and both thoroughly... Read morePublished 2 months ago by cephas
This is a good starter book on the topic, though it stays a little light on philosophy. But the examples seem good and going into the 2016 election cycle I think this is a great... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sam
This is just another attempt to "Pin the Tail on the Nazi" written by a Propaganda Artist, in his own right. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Hillary Ward