Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them” as Want to Read:
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  3,940 ratings  ·  637 reviews
Fascist politics are running rampant in America today—and spreading around the world. A Yale philosopher identifies the ten pillars of fascist politics, and charts their horrifying rise and deep history.

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
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Random House
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How Fascism Works, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
P R no it doesn't at all which boggles my mind how you can miss that.…moreno it doesn't at all which boggles my mind how you can miss that.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,940 ratings  ·  637 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascism is iniguitous. It creeps into the many weaknesses of democracy until the system is fatally damaged. In How Facism Works, Jason Stanley lists the various ways that facism undermines democracy.
The appeal of facism lies in its radical authoritarian ultranational stance. Immigrants and minorities, in other words those not like the major population, are the first to be blamed for woes facing the nation. Propaganda is ramped up. Sexual proclivity is exposed and demonized. The blame game contin
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it
When I finished reading this book, I had to think deep thoughts for awhile before I could attempt a review. While I found the information informative and very interesting, I also was disappointed by the definitive left slant the author took in the presentation of his knowledge. I really wanted to read a unbiased, informational look at the history, effects and basics of fascism. I don't feel that's what this book presents.

Stanley discusses the basic components of fascism and how it gains control.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Trump, trump, trump, trump, trump."
- Trump, Trump


Trump, trump, trump, trump. The Mythic Past. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump? Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Hitler. Trump, trump, trump, trump. Trump, trump, trump, trum
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author is the son of immigrants who fled Nazi Germany. He states that he is troubled that fascist politics is on the rise throughout the world again.

The book is well written and researched. Stanley analyzes the many strategies that fascist regimes employ: publicizing the idea of a mythic past, use of propaganda and conspiracy theories, anti-intellectualism, the replacement of reasoned debate with fear and anger, casting doubt on media, denial of equality, white male superiority, culture of v
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding--and chilling--book. Definitely an eye-opener.


In How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, Jason Stanley explains fascist ideologies, how it spreads, and why democratic societies are vulnerable to it.

I've delayed this review for quite a while, because I didn't know how to go about writing it. I'm still not sure how to go about it, but I'll share some thoughts I had while reading

The book consists of ten chapters: The Mythic Past, Propaganda, Anti-Intellectual, Unreality,
Sharad Pandian
A book commendable in its breadth, but almost entirely lacking in depth.

I. Breadth

Jason Stanley creates a model for identifying "fascist politics", which he thinks of as tactics that rely on "ultranationalism of some variety (ethnic, religious, cultural), with the nation represented in the person of an authoritarian leader who speaks on its behalf" as a "mechanism to achieve power".

He then identifies 10 distinct strategies, each of which gets a chapter dedicated to it:
1. the mythic past
2. propa
Joel Mitchell
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
This could have been such a helpful, insightful book. The word fascist is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it has started to lose its meaning. I hoped that this book would provide a historical perspective on fascism by examining actual fascist governments and drawing some parallels to the more egregious / worrisome trends in US & European politics. The chapter titles in the table of contents were promising:

- The Mythic Past
- Propaganda
- Anti-Intellectual
- Unreality
- Hier
Michael Austin
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
How Fascism Works packs a lot into a relatively short space, but it doesn't really explain how fascism works. It does a good job explaining what fascism is, and it contains stark warnings for Americans and people in other nations that are currently sliding into fascism, or, at least, dealing with fascist politicians. His examples are good, but he occasionally overstates the case and defines normal conservative positions (i.e. opposition to affirmative action, same-sex marriage, or an extensive w ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Fascism is not a word that I throw around carelessly. It has been watered down over the years when used to describe movements of feminism, conservation and ecology, fundamentalist Islam, and many other things the far-right likes to use to frighten its base. The march of nations down the historic path towards fascism has been very well documented at this point; the USA has been showing the symptoms of the disease for decades, because as the author points out, “Fascism is not a new threat, but rat ...more
May 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is an extremely biased book. The author is so bias that he doesn't see how he divides the country into "us" vs "them", the very thing he claims to be fighting. The author has a Manichean world view that is very divisive. Pointing out the fascist rhetoric of Trump and actions by Republicans is pretty sound, but the book fails to criticize the current overreaches and authoritarian tendencies of the left. He could have written chapters about the left and included the same topics: victimhood, s ...more
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jason Stanley’s How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them is essential reading for all eager to understand declining western democracies. In simple and straightforward prose, Stanley unravels and lays bare the components of fascist politics: the creation and use of a mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, rejection of facts, victimhood, toxic patriarchy and hierarchy, and social anxiety among other themes. It’s a perfect exposition of praxis, with Stanley seamlessly moving back and ...more
Conor Ahern
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great, thoroughly digestible primer on how and why fascism takes root.

Read it, pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living!
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-politics
Even though this is a good book, it is not the book I wanted to read. This is not necessarily the author's fault. He (and his publisher) at no time promised the book I wanted.

The title is “How Fascism Works”, and that's what it is about. The title of the book that I wanted to read would continue “….and What to Do About It”

This book says that the alarming turn of events which is currently going on here in the US fits into the Fascist model. It devotes a chapter to different aspects of this model
Sep 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Almost 40 years after Gilbert Allardyce called for the concept of fascism to be "de-modeled, de-ideologized, de-mystified, and de-escalated," out comes a book that purports to lay out the tenets of the fascist ideology. Anyone working to establish a definition of fascism, though, would seem to be confronted with a paradox. A definition of fascism that is to be universally applicable must transcend the limits of specific bodies of historical evidence. Yet to claim that fascism existed in France a ...more
Randall Wallace
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How self-obsessed and fact-adverse are Trump supporters? “45% of Donald Trump’s supporters feel that whites are the most discriminated against racial group in America. 54% of Trump’s supporters believe that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in America.” Look at the white nationalist websites, they claim racism against whites, but never any against blacks. Nixon told H.R. Haldeman, “You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a syst ...more
Donald Powell
An interpretation of Fascism and analysis of current times as it relates to that interpretation. The commonalities are compelling. The writer's style, syntax and diction, do not help his cause. Only one example is this sentence: "The myths that arise under conditions of dramatic material inequality legitimize ignoring the proper common referee for public discourse, which is the world." Other than this type of writing it is a very important work for anyone who cares about politics, governance and ...more
Laura Noggle
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, history
Key takeaway—Nations don't have to be fascist to suffer from fascist politics.

Equal parts sobering and alarming, Yale philosopher Jason Stanley lays out the ten pillars of fascist politics, analyzing the language and beliefs that divide “us” from “them.” A timely, yet chilling read so close to the election.

Thought to Ponder:

"In book 8 of Plato’s Republic, Socrates argues that people are not naturally led to self-governance but rather seek a strong leader to follow. Democracy, by permitting free
Sep 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another liberal intelligentsia effort to reshape the facts to characterize a large segment of a population of horrid goals -- without bothering to find out ANYTHING about the true nature of that segment of the population. If you are looking for more "evidence" of how evil your neighbors and co-workers are, then dive right in. If, on the other hand, you love your neighbors and your freedom, and you want to keep your blood pressure within the normal range, don't even think about reading or lis ...more
Ryan Bell
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely essential reading at this moment in time, especially. It’s not the most academic or thorough book about fascism but it’s readable, organized, and well-argues. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Follow this with The Anatomy of Fascism, by Robert Paxton.
i have some miscellaneous notes that i may clean up and post later, but this is probably only a useful read if you know next to nothing about fascism—it’s got some very good data, but it’s all so wrapped up in convoluted semi-mccarthyist liberal vagueness that the thought of reading any more of it was just plain exhausting

[eta 9/9/19] the aforementioned notes:

this has a p good overview of the basic tenets of fascism and where it's most prevalent today, as well as its historical roots in america,
Sep 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
fascist, n. - someone who won an argument against a liberal.
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
This was the first audio book I listened to
...and wanted to listen to it again, immediately!
The narrator has a soothing yet compelling voice
and the narrative, well, just lean back and let the words
sink in. Remember what the USA went through the last four years
...and start to connect the dots!
#EducateYourself....before it is too late!
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley, is a basic examination of some of the key rhetorical characteristics of fascism. The author examines the concepts of: myth, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, "unreality", hierarchy, victimhood, law and order, sexual anxiety, the corruption of urban influences, and hard work, all of which play into a fascist narrative. These concepts are often used as rhetorical messages to influence and gain support for fascist style movements. The ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wondered if a book written by a professor of philosophy at Yale would be dry, but this book was not only interesting, but also accessible to me as a general reader. Jason Stanley has researched this topic extensively, and discusses both historical and current examples of fascism in the world. He identifies 10 pillars on which fascism is based: the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, unreality, hierarchy, victimhood, law and order, sexual anxiety, appeals to the heartland, and a dism ...more
Michael Perkins
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Brand new, spot on interview with the author....
Carlos Miguel Palao
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The most significant part for me has been realising something. These new far right people (Chega, AFD, PVV, FVD, VOX, Trump, etc) might not have paramilitaries or call to invade places. But they are as fascist as Hitler or Mussolini were.

The book makes a great case on how fascist politics works, dividing people between us and them and using hate rethoric to avoid real conversations on issues, control and divide. The parallels it makes between 30s fascism and actual fascism are quite good. I'd st
A philosopher provides an accessible exploration of how contemporary political movements such as the U.S. Trump regime mirror fascist movements of the early and mid-twentieth century. As an audiobook, this was very easy to follow and easily held my interest because of the many scary and shocking examples, which probably rival any horror novel in terms of provoking dread and nausea. Of course, the disadvantage of the audiobook format was that I couldn't see any citations or footnotes, which I nor ...more
When the President of the United States is siding with the Russians, over his own intelligence people, you know the world is getting scarier and scarier. Thus, this highly readable primer about fascism could not have come soon enough. Hopefully, it will be used in high school and college classes, too, since many in the younger generations have not been taught the dangers of fascism and communism. Oh, but wait, it's often those in the older generations who sound like fascists these days. If you a ...more
Scott Holstad
This is not only the best book I've ever read on fascism, but possibly among the best books I've ever read! While not as thorough or comprehensive as it could have been, I believe the author tried to keep it reasonably short while giving the reader a solid history as to the movement's beginnings, typical tactics, trends, lies, violence and deaths that arise from such, examples of this currently happening throughout European democracies while applying examples of how the US, led by neo-fascist Tr ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a clear, well-written overview of the key elements of fascism that connect current political movements to historical ones. Accessible, well structured, and full of compelling arguments and relevant insights.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present
  • Surviving Autocracy
  • Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism
  • On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It
  • How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future
  • The Anatomy of Fascism
  • How Propaganda Works
  • Tudo o que você precisou desaprender para virar um idiota
  • A Brief History of Fascist Lies
  • On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
  • Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy
  • The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?
  • Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy
  • The Rosewater Redemption (The Wormwood Trilogy, #3)
  • It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump
  • Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America
  • Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook
  • Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century
See similar books…
Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. He is the author of five books, including How Propaganda Works, winner of the Prose Award in Philosophy from the Association of American Publishers, and How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, about which Citizens author Claudia Rankine says: “No single book is as relevant to the present moment.” Stanley serves ...more

Related Articles

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
117 likes · 20 comments
“To describe someone as a “criminal” is both to mark that person with a terrifying permanent character trait and simultaneously to place the person outside the circle of “us.” They are criminals. We make mistakes.” 9 likes
“Pratap Mehta wrote: The targeting of enemies—minorities, liberals, secularists, leftists, urban naxals, intellectuals, assorted protestors—is not driven by a calculus of ordinary politics….When you legitimize yourself entirely by inventing enemies, the truth ceases to matter, normal restraints of civilization and decency cease to matter, the checks and balances of normal politics cease to matter.*2” 3 likes
More quotes…