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Fascism: The Career of a Concept

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  15 ratings  ·  5 reviews
What does it mean to label someone a fascist? Today, it is equated with denouncing him or her as a Nazi. But as intellectual historian Paul E. Gottfried writes in this provocative yet even-handed study, the term’s meaning has evolved over the years. Gottfried examines the semantic twists and turns the term has endured since the 1930s and traces the word’s polemical functio ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 8th 2016 by Northern Illinois University Press (first published November 15th 2015)
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4.40  · 
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Steven Wedgeworth
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful in understanding both the historical existence of fascism and the various rhetorical uses of the term since. This book is a bit of a slog at points, but it is worthwhile, especially in the way that it summarizes and synthesizes the various academic literature about early 20th cent. Fascism.

Gottfried's core argument is that fascism was a unique political movement which cannot be separated from its historical moment. He distinguishes it from mere authoritarianism and totalitarianism,
...more
Dietrich
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Since stumbling across Gottfried’s impressive critical study of Leo Strauss, I’ve started exploring his other work. I’ve found his books learned, intelligent and thought provoking. This book on fascism is no exception.

Gottfried provides a conceptual roadmap of his topic by identifying many important theoretical questions dealt with by scholars of fascism. These include but are not limited to the following: Is it possible to identify an essential character that the various movements and regimes l
...more
The American Conservative
The term “fascism” is employed with such regular enthusiasm by everyone from political activists to celebrities and academics that our pundits could be forgiven for assuming that fascists lurk behind every corner and at every level of government. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann accused the Bush administration of fascism. Thomas Sowell has called President Obama a fascist. A quick online search yields accusations that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are fascists. The term “Islamofascism” circulates w ...more
Christine Silk
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historians, political scienctists
This book is not a quick afternoon read. The arguments are not easily reduced to Twitter-sized sound bites (even though we all chuckle in agreement when we read the current internet meme: “Everyone who disagrees with me is a fascist!”). Pay attention to the wealth of information Paul Gottfried provides, and the dividends will be many. You’ll discover the differences between totalitarianism versus authoritarianism, fascism versus Marxism, why generic fascism had a Latin flavor, and whether fascis ...more
Marc
Dec 30, 2016 marked it as to-read
Gottfried's book on fascism brings much needed corrective to a misused and abused term. His iconoclastic thoughts on fascism and how it relates to other misunderstood phenomena is intricate throughout and impeccably researched. This is shown, for example, in his contextualising of totalitarianism, comparing amd contrasting regimes often lumped thoughtessly togther.

Paul's writing maintains a lucidity throughout and despite his self proclaimed inclinations to more European characteristics, is refr
...more
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