American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America
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American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,046 ratings  ·  235 reviews
Twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists first spoke of the United States becoming a Christian nation that would build a global Christian empire, it was hard to take such hyperbolic rhetoric seriously. Today, such language no longer sounds like hyperbole but poses, instead, a very real threat to our freedom and our way of life. In "Ameri...more
Hardcover, 254 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Will Byrnes
This is a very alarming portrait of some of the darkest forces at work in America, or anywhere for that matter. Hedges argues that the extreme wing of the contemporary Christian movement in the US shares much with the actions and worldview of other historical fascist movements, movements that often mask the full extent of their drive for totalitarianism and their willingness to make concessions only until they achieved unrivaled power. There is little in here that I was not aware of, as far as t...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I held off on reviewing this book. Anyone who has read many of my reviews and has actually read this book will know I'll disagree with it's conclusions. I got involved in a discussion of it in the comments section of someone else's review that got rather...heated. But I decide I was now "committed", so to speak. So, despite the fact that some may like to have me "committed" I take keyboard in hand so to speak and brave the waves of electrons.

In this case, I not only disagree with the book's conc...more
Douglas McGaw
Oct 22, 2007 Douglas McGaw rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
The danger of the "Christian" right wing to our freedom and right to live as we desire is vastly underrated, and Hedges does a brilliant job of exposing this danger. By defining what is right and wrong, by viewing history and even prehistory through the prism of a literal interpretation of the Bible, they seek to impose their worldview on all and to hell - literally - with those who refuse to accept their way. Hedges has solid credentials as a "person of faith", but sees clearly the inherent dan...more
Jami
May 07, 2008 Jami rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
So, Ellis and I just finished reading this as Book #1 in our newly-founded 2-person book group, and while it wouldn't have been my first pick, I actually really enjoyed reading it, and it was an excellent book for discussion.

Chris Hedges describes the idealogy of the extreme Christian Right group based here in America, and frankly, I found it to be pretty scary. The idea behind creating an entirely Christian nation (as the Christian Right would like to do) is not only un-democratic, but it is al...more
Laura Jean
More thoughtful than the title suggests, Chris Hedges lays out an informed analysis of the dominionist movement in the United States and how it has used the sympathies of the Christian Right to further anti-free speech and anti-freedom of religion/freedom from fear/freedom of expression agendas.

While every person's religious belief is protected by the Constitution, a totalitarian agenda is not. What has increasingly happened since the late sixties is a movement within the Christian Right to est...more
Bruce
American Fascists should be read by people willing to think. Those with closed minds should buy at least three copies, and pass it around their friends [Maybe one of them will start thinking.:] The very beginning of this book is an abstract of an essay by Umberto Eco entitled “Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt.” It is an annotated list of traits found in all forms of authoritarianism (Fascism). By itself this short essay goes a long way toward describing the so-called Chr...more
Huyen
I used to think Christian fundamentalism in America was like an ad hoc movement of some hypnotized chickens. But according to this book, it seems to be a pretty big deal. I always think it’d be good to look at the reason why people believe in such absurd nonsense before critiquing them. The only chapter that serves that purpose is chapter two, cultural despair. This is where it arouses my sympathy: many people, facing economic difficulties and psychological crisis, feel unrooted, lost, desperate...more
David Stephens
As a fervent reader, I understand the desire to derive meaning from stories, especially the stories of one’s own life. It is unpleasant to think of the universe as a vast, meaningless place where people have no real purpose but simply move about and eventually disappear. However, sometimes this desire to elicit meaning from life can cause serious problems. It goes from providing a group of people with a purpose to curtailing the lives of other human beings. This phenomenon is the focus of Chris...more
Jason
Mar 09, 2007 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: bob jones
I initially saw author Chris Hedges speak on BookTV about this book, and was enchanted by the fiery invective and seething passion he had for his subject matter. It was a powerful sermon aimed at the "dominionist" movement in fundamental Christianity, led by people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. On the surface, his argument is obvious at points, as this group is already much maligned by mainstream media and the liberal elite. But his perspective is refreshing, as he not only delves into t...more
Kate
Having hung out with a lot of main line Christians as well as a lot of evangelicals and card-carrying fundamentalist loonies in my day, I have to commend Chris Hedges on his attempt to characterize that last group there. He does a stellar job of describing the inner workings of the loonies. He pretty much has 'em nailed. I also deeply appreciate his use of Arendt and Popper in providing a theoretical framework with which to understand the dangers of fundamentalist lunacy. This book is readable,...more
Amy
This book stirred up so many emotions in me. Simply because from the ages of 5-13 I was a part of this "Christian Right" due to my attendance in a very fundamentalist Christian school. At this school I was inundated with talks of the Rapture, how we had to always prepare for so called "end of days", how Ouija boards could levitate and destroy themselves if you told them too, and that every second of every day someone was going to hell. Horrible things to tell an impressionable child who at the a...more
Nancy
The word "brilliant" is not one I often use on a non-fiction book, but it is the exactly correct word for this book. Chris Hedges is a former New York Times journalist, award-winning, who now devotes his talents to investigating current conditions in the world and sharing his analysis with those among us who are concerned for the survival of our democracy.

Hedges' analysis of the Christian Right's rise to power in the U.S. is frightening. It both mirrors the Nazis' rise in Germany, but also adds...more
Tim
The most disturbing book I have yet read about America. God help us all if these loons ever get their way.
Claire S
My Dad's Mom was actually cut from cloth very similar to this, except she might not have been quite as much about world domination (she lived in Wisconsin). But her and others I've known give me real life experience - although I'm sure much less scary than the real real extremists shown here.

This part from Will's review:
P 21
Dominionists wait only for a fiscal, social or political crisis, a moment of upheaval in the form of an economic meltdown or another terrorist strike on American soil, to mo...more
Jon
A cogent analysis of the Christian Far-Right as a group as one bent on turning the US into a totalitarian theocracy. Though this may result from the age of the book (at the time of publication, GWB was president and Massachusetts was the only state that granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples), some of the points Hedges makes seem almost obvious; their fierce resistance to same-sex rights and their political embodiment in the Tea Party, though more-or-less hypothetical in the book, constit...more
Colleen Toporek
I found this to be a passionate and well-researched analysis.

He is scrupulous in pointing out that narrow, judgmental, and violent views are not characteristic of Christians; nor are they an aspect of evangelical Christianity, per se. The groups that advocate theocracy are a very particular strain of "Christian." He makes a fascinating point about the dangers of exclusivity in religion by stating, rather poetically, that mystery is one of the key facets of faith. And uncertainty and change are...more
Joshua
Chris Hedges paints a rather frightening, regressive, misogynistic view of the underground Christian Right, a fundamentalist movement he alleges is closely linked to neo-conservatism and the American Republican party. Citing a plethora of anecdotal evidence -- which, I feel, both makes his thesis of Christo-fascism increasingly terrifying, yet also manages to come off as patently absurd -- Hedges tells a tale of a vocal minority of Christians actively working to dominate and oppress those they...more
Virginia
Nov 13, 2013 Virginia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
What I love most about this book is that Chris Hedges had the sense to know that this story is far too important to not make it widely accessible to the average reader. He chose not to use the "feels like I'm reading a Newsweek column," language typical of many journalists. He interweaves interesting personal stories in each chapter which keep the reader enthralled and still manages to convey the deeper political implications at hand. You can be a Jr. High School student, with absolutely no inte...more
Leslie
This book reminds me of how sad I feel around the very committed Christians of whom make up most of my world. I long for them to be progressive, tolerant in the best sense, or at the very least stop demonizing the people who don’t believe the exact brand of belief they adhere to. Figures like Rushdoony and Schaeffer (though not so much the “buffoons” of the TBN empire) influence their theology as much as the Bible. The organized effort to dominate, as Hedges shows, pervades their “worldview,” la...more
Ismael Galvan
American Fascists: The Christian Right and The War on America by Chris Hedges, graduate from seminary at Harvard Divinity School and two decade war correspondent, points out the elephant in the room. Much of the country is aware of the extreme Christian Right’s agenda for dominating our government, education, private life, and foreign policy. In short, their aim is to turn the US into a Christian theocracy and thereby enforce a Christian global rule. Their buffoonish rhetoric would be laughable...more
Mark
Entering the mindset of the average homosexual-hating fundamentalist Christian makes for one hell of a trip. Given the subject matter and the stark title, the author clearly knew he had to provide evidence for allegations which strike to the heart of US politics.

Part of the decision to read the book in the first place was in reaction to recent news stories involving a certain hate group thought by many to represent the outer limits of American religious extremism. I was completely unprepared to...more
Donna
It was meeting a few everyday German people when I was a child that instilled in me a morbid fascination with the history of Nazi Germany. Learning about the horrors that occurred in their country for many years, I wondered how people who seemed so ordinary—so much like us—could have ignored (much less been complicit in) such unimaginable cruelty.

The answer, of course, is that over a period of years, skillful propaganda and cultural manipulation had sold “Aryan” Germans a world view about their...more
Leif
If you're expecting an anti-Christian screed, you'll be disappointed. Hedges offers a well-documented, frightening look at the people and organizations that want to make their own moral codes into laws and punish everyone who has a deviant opinion. He calls on people of faith who do _not_ have a Dominionist bent to stand up to those who do before it's too late. It is also free of a whacky conspiratorial tone, which I feared it might have (he acknowedged that the portion of Christian Fascists is...more
Wanda
Somewhat disappointing. I am done with Hedges. His shrill and alarmist tone is grating and too often, as in some of his other books, he fails to prove his thesis.
I am just as alarmed as he is about the religious Christian right. To me, they are no better than the Ayatollahs and the Taliban. Same ilk. But Hedges is turning into a conspiracy theorist who seems to see a plot for domination of our society around every corner. It was the same with his Empire of Illusion - lots of innuendo, no substa...more
Heather Denkmire
I'll be mulling over some of his conclusions for a while. Specifically, he says there's no point in trying to work with the Dominionists/extreme fundamentalists as they aren't interested in dialogue. I see his point, but I'm still not sure that fighting a slammed door with a slammed door is the answer.

That said, this is a great (though disturbing) primer on the theme I've been reading lately, the radical right (in particular the Rushdoony/Dominionists) plotting and successfully taking over funda...more
Genine Franklin-Clark

Scary. Very scary. I just unfriended on Facebook a guy who was described frightenly accurately in this book; a "nice" guy, "Christian", well-to-do, apallingly hateful and close-minded. I had thought that if I remained calm and reasonable and presented facts from impartial sources(as the book said I would do), this guy would engage in a dialogue. Nope. I'm "one of Satan's minions". Wow.

One result of my reading this book: I'll no longer be quiet to be polite when crazy folks spew hate and lies.

Sor...more
Allen
Every generation has an Anti-Christ. At one time it was Napoleon, then it was Hitler and so on. In my youth it was "The Communists". Today it is "The Muslims". Hedges describes and documents in frightening detail the people we have most to fear. Christian Extremists have been slowly working their way into political power in an unholy alliance with the Republicans. This book tells why they are to be feared and how they work. It ought to be MUST reading for everyone concerned about freedom and dem...more
Mike
Any author will have his blind spots and biases. Hedges, for the most part, told stories of real people and quoted their very words. Compared to 'I Don't Believe in Atheists' his investigative journalism here was much more thorough and to the point. Which suggests to me that the "fundamentalist atheism" he spoke of is more an abstraction, a possibility, and not as much of a reality (with Sam Harris and a few others being the exception).

Yes, dominionists are not the only sort of Christian, but t...more
William Galaini
Despite the constant stream of screaming we receive in both ears regarding America's cultural and socioeconomic direction, the subject is a matter to be taken seriously. While so many snake-oil salesmen attempt to offer us their own variety of tonic, we must navigate the din toward the truth of the matter.

One of those inescapable truths is that we are a nation of all people of all walks of life. And we must remain as such. We see what the pursuit hegemony has done to Russia and China and we want...more
Dave Brown
I used to read Carl Sagan a lot, before the world ran out of Sagan, and he had a way of criticizing people's beliefs articulately and devastatingly, but still with great respect and understanding. Hedges has a lot of that in him in his examination of the followers of the Christian right. It's clear to him and everyone that they're being duped, but Hedges acknowledges that in many cases they're kind of the victims. Their conversions usually come at extremely low points in often miserable lives. H...more
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Raised fundamentalist? 4 24 Jul 04, 2012 03:28PM  
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Christopher Lynn Hedges is an American journalist, author, and war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies.
Hedges is known as the best-selling author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
Chris Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York Ci...more
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“The split in America, rather than simply economic, is between those who embrace reason, who function in the real world of cause and effect, and those who, numbed by isolation and despair, now seek meaning in a mythical world of intuition, a world that is no longer reality-based, a world of magic.” 37 likes
“The triviality of American popular culture, its emptiness and gossip, accelerates this destruction of critical thought. It expands the void, the mindlessness that makes the magic, mythology, and irrationality of the Christian Right palatable. Television, the movement’s primary medium, allows viewers to preoccupy themselves with context-free information. The homogenized empty chatter on the airwaves, the banal amusement and clichés, the bizarre doublespeak endlessly repeated on cable news channels and the huge spectacles in sports stadiums have replaced America’s political, social and moral life, indeed replaced community itself. Television lends itself perfectly to this world of signs and wonders, to the narcissism of national and religious self-exaltation. Television discourages real communication. Its rapid frames and movements, its constant use of emotional images, its sudden shifts from one theme to an unrelated theme, banish logic and reason with dizzying perplexity. It, too, makes us feel good. It, too, promises to protect and serve us. It, too, promises to life us up and thrill us. The televangelists have built their movement on these commercial precepts. The totalitarian creed of the Religious Right has found in television the perfect medium. Its leaders know how television can be used to seduce and encourage us to walk away from dwindling, less exciting collectives that protect and nurture us. They have mastered television’s imperceptible, slowly induced hypnosis. And they understand the enticement of credo quia absurdum—I believe because it is absurb.” 8 likes
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