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You are here: Home > Suggested readings > Paxton - The Anatomy of Fascism - ISBN 9780713997200 - 4/5

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Published on 2018-05-14 10:51:35 | words: 422


Paxton, Robert O.
The Anatomy of Fascism (Allen Lane History)
BookID 108128849
ISBN 9780713997200
(see LibraryThing.com card)
Description (from Amazon)What is Fascism? How can we comprehend it? Fascism was a major political innovation of the 20th century and the source of much of its pain. This book shows that we cannot understand the phenomenon in the abstract, but only in terms of its actions.
My review: 4/5More than a review, I will let the author speak, after doing my second run through the book, this time focusing on origins and how to avoid its recurrence (of which we keep having way too many examples, since the fall of the Berlin Wall)

The Anatomy of Fascism
Robert O. Paxton

Hannah Arendt observed that Mussolini "was probably the first party leader who consciously rejected a formal program and replaced it with inspired leadership and action alone" Origins, p. 325, n. 39

[Yes, the "neither right nor left" was part of European politics a century ago]

...some countries with a powerful cultural preparation (France, for example) became fascist only by conquest (if then).

Fascism... is still visible today. Fascism exists at the level of Stage One within all democratic countries... "Giving up free institutions," especially the freedoms of unpopular groups, os recurrently attractive to citizens of Western democracies... We know from tracing its path that fascism does not require a spectacular "march" on some capital to take root; seemingly anodyne decisions to tolerate lawless treatment of national "enemies" is enough. Something very close to classical fascism has reached Stage Two in a few deeply troubled societies. Its further progress is not inevitable, however. Further fascist advances toward power depend in part upon the severity of a crisis, but also very largely upon human choices, especially the choices of those holding economic, social, and political power. Determining the appropriate responses to fascist gains is not easy, since its cycle is not likely to repeat itself blindly. We stand a much better chance of responding wisely, however, if we understand how fascism succeeded in the past.
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