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How Fascism Works

How Fascism Works

The Politics of Us and Them

Book - 2018
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"As the child of refugees of World War II Europe and a renowned philosopher and scholar of propaganda, Jason Stanley has a deep understanding of how democratic societies can be vulnerable to fascism: Nations don't have to be fascist to suffer from fascist politics. In fact, fascism's roots have been present in the United States for more than a century. Alarmed by the pervasive rise of fascist tactics both at home and around the globe, Stanley focuses here on the structures that unite them, laying out and analyzing the ten pillars of fascist politics--the language and beliefs that separate people into an 'us' and a 'them.' He knits together reflections on history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory with stories from contemporary Hungary, Poland, India, Myanmar, and the United States, among other nations. He makes clear the immense danger of underestimating the cumulative power of these tactics, which include exploiting a mythic version of a nation's past; propaganda that twists the language of democratic ideals against themselves; anti-intellectualism directed against universities and experts; law and order politics predicated on the assumption that members of minority groups are criminals; and fierce attacks on labor groups and welfare. These mechanisms all build on one another, creating and reinforcing divisions and shaping a society vulnerable to the appeals of authoritarian leadership. By uncovering disturbing patterns that are as prevalent today as ever, Stanley reveals that the stuff of politics--charged by rhetoric and myth--can quickly become policy and reality. Only by recognizing fascists politics, he argues, may we resist its most harmful effects and return to democratic ideals."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525511830
Branch Call Number: 321.94 ST
Characteristics: xix, 218 pages ; 20 cm
Alternative Title: Politics of us and them


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Holly Lee Butler
Feb 11, 2021


Dec 29, 2020

Leo 3 stars

Dec 29, 2020

Leo 3 stars

Nov 16, 2020

Like many of us, I have been reading quite a bit about fascism these last four years. Maybe for that reason this book seemed repetitive, although it contains interesting arguments and examples.

In the epilogue, the author says, "Some may complain...that the contemporary examples are not sufficiently extreme to juxtapose against the crimes of history. But the threat of normalization [of fascism] is real." We are losing our capacity for outrage, as David Brooks put it.

Unfortunately, IMO the book is so clearly aimed at attaching the fascist label to Trump that I'm afraid anyone who still needs convincing would not read it.

Apr 27, 2020

Great book that concisely and simply lays out fascist politics, strategy, and tactics. A quick read.

Re: 777's comment: of course, fascist sympathizers are going to hate this book.

Mar 02, 2020

Re: Comment below from 777.
In my opinion; the last paragraph lays the groundwork for a very serious discussion and should be treated as such. And as to being offensive, Voltaire I think once said, I might not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to speak.

Mar 23, 2019

The below comments perhaps illustrates why we need this book. I'm not sure why they felt the need to call Jason Stanley, a Yale professor and author of "How Propaganda Works," a "radical Jewish author," but the review smacks of anti-Semitism. They should probably have picked up conservative writer Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism," although he's also Jewish. In further response to the commentator, Stanley is not comparing Trump to Hitler, but ably demonstrating how he uses techniques associated with fascism (demonizing the other, manipulating the press, nationalism). Read it for yourself and decide. Also see Timothy Snyder's "On Tyranny" and Hannah Arendt's classic "The Origin of Totalitarianism."

Dec 31, 2018
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Nov 27, 2018

The contents of this book exactly fit the title: it's a useful, if somewhat flatly written, description of fascist tactics. It barely touches on fascist ideology, but that's not its purpose -- it's essentially a description of symptoms that allow the reader to recognize the disease (fascism). There's very little new here, but "How Fascism Works" is a good primer.

Oct 12, 2018

This book clearly explains the major elements that can gradually convert our American democracy into a fascist state. Fascist proponents repeatedly proclaim that we need to change the country to what it once was - an America ruled by white Christians. The former slaves are again to be made "invisible" second-class servants. The "poorly educated" whites will be convinced that their lives will be enhanced once the unwanted immigrants are deported. Along with these changes, women will return to their natural state as bearers of children and homemakers. All for the glory of the fatherland.

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