- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (September 3, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250006716
- ISBN-13: 978-1250006714
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund 1st Edition
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“[An] engrossing retelling...” ―The New York Times
“Impeccably researched and forcefully written.” ―Chicago Tribune
“...told with relish and undisguised disdain.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“...fast-paced...a fresh account of a well-documented era.” ―Publishers Weekly
“As there are few other works specifically on this topic - none aimed at a popular audience and many out of print - this is an adequate overview of the history of the Bund. Recommended for those interested in the time period and the U.S. Nazi movement.” ―Library Journal
“This is narrative nonfiction at its best, a gripping tale that's impossible to put down.” ―Karen Abbott, author of American Rose
“This is a breathtaking story of a lost piece of American history--a powerfully written, expertly researched tale packed with fascinating characters and riveting action.” ―Jonathan Eig, New York Times best–selling author of Luckiest Man
“Arnie Bernstein is a master storyteller…Here's a book with a cast of bigger-than-life characters…A powerful, riveting story.” ―John McNally, Award-winning author of The Book of Ralph
“No novelist would have dared to pass off the bumptious Fritz Kuhn, his dim-witted associates, or his improbable harem of divorced socialites as real-life characters. But for a few years in the 1930s, the Bundesführer purveyed his bizarre blend of Hitler-worship, Jew-hatred, and star-spangled patriotism to audiences of thousands--while the likes of Walter Winchell, Thomas Dewey, Fiorella LaGuardia, and Meyer Lansky worked separately and sometimes together to bring him down. Swastika Nation reminds us that when it comes to the politics of hatred, truth is stranger than fiction--and nothing is new under the sun.” ―Arthur Goldwag, author of The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right
“Swastika Nation is the frightening, compulsively readable story of the rise of the German-American Bund of the 1930s. Arnie Bernstein chronicles the unlikely coalition of crusading politicians, moonlighting Hollywood icons, and tough-guy Jewish mobsters who found common cause in fighting the specter of homegrown Nazism at a time when it really could have happened here. His book is a vivid and enlightening look at a largely forgotten episode of American history.” ―Gary Krist, New York Times bestselling author of City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago
“Bernstein wraps his arms around an amazing cast and spins a tale that will readers breathless--it's that good. An astonishing read by a wonderful writer.” ―Gregg Olson, New York Times best-selling author of Starvation Heights
About the Author
ARNIE BERNSTEIN learned firsthand about American Nazis as a high school student, when a group of neo-fascists threatened to march in his neighborhood, known for its large Jewish population. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, BBC Radio, NPR, PBS, and numerous documentaries. He's lectured at DePaul University, the Chicago History Museum, and other venues, and appeared on C-SPAN's Book-TV. Bernstein's nonfiction tale Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing was honored as a Notable Book of the Year by the State Library of Michigan. He lives in Chicago.
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Top Customer Reviews
Clearly inspired by Hitler's National Socialist Party, the Bund inherited the membership of several other pro-Nazi organizations and became the sole proprietor of Hitler's brand of totalitarianism... even though the German government denied any real link between the two. Bernstein does a good job of studying the Bund's organization, leadership and policies. The author's writing is good, although he does tend to go off on tangents. A good book on this topic that goes beyond the stock newsreel footage and photos of the Madison Square Garden rally.
Arnie Bernstein's new book Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund is a vividly written, colorful and even humorous account of the best known and organized fascist group of their era, and its portly, popinjay leader.--Joe Allen, Socialist Worker
Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund by Arnie Bernstein is a disturbing, scary but very readable history book. The book starts with a 1939 pro-Nazi rally held in Madison Square Garden bringing in tens of thousands of supporters – an even which today is difficult to fathom.
Mr. Bernstein focuses on one man, Fritz Julius Kuhn, a native German who moves to the US, gets a job for a known industrialist anti-Semite (Henry Ford) joins the German Bud and diligently gets to the top, to the position of Bundesführer. Eventually Kuhn is brought down by Fiorello La Guardia, Thomas Dewey, and others when they had had enough of his shenanigans.
The Bund finds many supporters of National Socialism (and the “Jewish Problem) but many high profile opponents as well. My favorite chapter had to do with the Jewish gangsters (Meyer Lansky, Longy Zwillman, Bugsy Siegel among others) who, while not religious and sometimes even a cause of shame for their communities, took it upon themselves to protect “their people” – and even enjoyed it as well.
The author does not hide his disdain from the subject of the book, a bunch of ugly people doing ugly things. The book is a fascinating chapter in American history showing how a fringe group can take the ideals this nation was founded on and manipulate them for their own purposes. Stupid people are dangerous in large groups and Mr. Bernstein proves it on every page.