Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy” as Want to Read:
National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  731 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Across the West, there is a rising tide of people who feel excluded, alienated from mainstream politics, and increasingly hostile towards minorities, immigrants and neo-liberal economics. Many of these voters are turning to national populist movements, which have begun to change the face of Western liberal democracy, from the United States to France, Austria to the UK.

Paperback, 344 pages
Published October 25th 2018 by Pelican
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 National Populism, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about National Populism

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  731 ratings  ·  107 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy
Dan Sumption
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
In the wake of Brexit, Trump, and the increasing popularity of national populist movements in Italy, France, Hungary and elsewhere, this book promises to answer three questions:
"What is behind the rise of national populism in the west?"
"Who supports these movements, and why?"
"And how will they change the face of politics in years to come?"

Of these three, only the second is dealt with adequately. The authors tackle many myths about the "who" - in particular the belief that national populists are
Tim Pendry

Published in 2018, I suspect that this popular social science book on the relatively recent phenomenon of national populism is going to need an updated second edition quite soon. Political change has not only not faltered since the events of 2016 but seems to be accelerating.

I have been recommending this book to anyone who will listen as a sound corrective to the idiotic rubbish that stands for political analysis and commentary by the lightweights who write in our national media, think politics
An international look at populist parties in different nations over the last 20 years. The authors situate Trump/Le Pen/Brexit as part of a broader trend.

There is an especially interesting graph at the end which shows that right-of-centre parties have moved to more solidly right wing, but at the same time left-of-centre parties have moved decisively rightwards leaving a vacuum of groups of under-represented people.

The book is rather too statistics heavy with an awful lot of opinion polls quoted
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Total hate-read. I'm being generous in giving two stars. But there were some interesting ideas when the authors weren't being disgustingly partial.

Some thoughts:

• Starting theories with the words "outside of Eastern Europe" because populist countries like Hungary and Poland don't fit said theories, is not acceptable.

• What point are they trying to make in stating that the Nazis "oversaw the establishment of full employment, welfare schemes and benefits like cheap holidays". That Nazis weren't
Muhammad Ahmad
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book is useful for the secondary literature that it draws on, but there is little in the book that's original or insightful. By defining racism narrowly, it comes to the convenient conclusion that racism is in decline while straining to find all reasons, except racism, for the rise in xenophobia, of which it tries to present a sympathetic portrait.

It seems like the same book keeps appearing periodically, under different titles and by different authors, at whose core is the same tired anti-i
Gavin Addison
May 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
A more cowardly and wrong-headed take on right wing populism would be hard to find outside of the annals of culture warrior YoutTube.
This is a book which sees fit to list every single grievance, real or imagined, that national populists claim while stammering out solutions to them, which are often vague, unhelpful or even hypocritical. For example, I laughed out loud when in the space of a single page they raised the unpopularity of diversity quotas, AND the possibility of making sure US unive
Oct 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
I had expectations for this book but it turned out to be an apologetic s**t. I understand that all the books about populism published in the last few years always offer the same analysis, I understand that they wanted to offer a "new" point of view on the topic... but you can do it without saying that "Lega Nord is NOT racist"? That "Front National has not a fascist background" (really buddy? In the '80 they used to march with their heads shaved, but ok)? Because, you know that sounds utterly st ...more
Tammam Aloudat
I can write a thesis on how much I didn't like this book. But I won't because it will feel like a waste of time. However, a few points:

- This is a book that pretends to be objective and academic. It isn't. It uses plenty of statistics but almost all of them are about the perceptions of white working men on how they feel alienated and unprivileged. This is not evidence, especially when it is not balanced with counter statistics about how others perceive their circumstances or whether the percepti
Tariq Mahmood
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Sombering book on the state of the new wave of nationalistic populism taking over many western democracies. Instead of brushing aside the huge and unpredictable populist decisions taken by the people (Brexit & Trump) as last-ditch efforts, or momentary passionate decisions which will wither way automatically with time, its high time that we accept the reality in the shift of people's attitude to immigrants, inequality and job security. All of these issues are genuine feelings among the electorat ...more
Ben Cullimore
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve long been an admirer of both Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin, who, across several publications, have proved themselves to be two of the leading figures in their respective fields. They previously collaborated on The New Extremism in 21st Century Britain - an excellent examination of radical political and religious movements - and have produced another fascinating and timely study with National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy.

Much has been written about the populist wave swe
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is far more honest and daring than one might expect. It's not just another 'populists are racist and bad' tirade. It's open-minded, empathetic and realistic. Some of the stats about future demographic trends are quite an eye-opener.
Ursula Florene
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it
The book offers nothing really new if you religiously follow opinions, literature, or research articles about national populism especially after the rise of Marine LePen, Brexit, and Trump. The writers presented readers with historical and socioeconomic backgrounds, showing that national-populism is not a new trend but it has been there for quite long, waiting to erupt.

It also dissects the material and non-material factors that draw people to support national populist party and its candidates. T
Matthías Aron Ólafsson
The book brings to light some interesting facts about the statistics behind the rise of national populism in the West, but in a rather dry way though. I sometimes got the feeling that I was reading some report. Although I understand that the book tries to offer a more realistic look at this phenomenon it does in my opinion suffer from the authors quite narrow definition of racism as the they rather downplay its factor, along with racial stereotypes, in the rise of national populism.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eatwell and Goodwin have carefully constructed a fresh view on our contemporary political climate, supported by an incredible amount of data. The main takeaway is already stated on one of the first pages of the book: nationalist and populist sentiments are here to stay. Many liberal parties, along with their voters, discredit their opposition by labeling them as racists, morons, or angry elders. That is not a sustainable strategy for advancing the political agenda and trying to create a more uni ...more
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
While the book offers a different perspective on supporters of populist movements, trying to explain their motives and worries, it has strong weaknesses. First, it fails to account for why those disillusioned working class voters that are just afraid of immigrants (which, as the authors seem to agree, are quite scary) have no problems voting for openly fascist and racist politicians. It denies those voters’ agency, their free choice to deny the tempting offers of the national populists. Second, ...more
Alan Draycott
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting book that should be required reading for every Corbynista because it explains in very clear terms how much of an error it is every time they accuse someone of racism or sexism or some other ism how much harm they are doing to their own cause. I felt relieved that I am not turning into some kind of 1930's black shirt if I take the view that Raheem Sterling should not play up front for England. And I am right to be annoyed to be a called a racist for that view? I also feel emboldened i ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it liked it
3-4 [somewhere in that range, I am not sure]

This book is confusing. It makes a impassioned argument that the roots of national populism can be found in primarily subjective feelings about relative deprivation compared to those outside of the "national group" (i.e. immigrants), a strong feeling of detachment from the political process, and economic inequality. In many areas, Eatwell and Goodwin's arguments are lucid, especially in the economic and political involvement sphere. Yet, the authors ta
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, russia, uk, usa
Populists aren’t necessarily racist. They don’t oppose democracy. They are not in it to become wealthier per se. Rather, populists care about community, belonging, group identity and the nation. This book explains what’s really going on with followers of Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, Wilders and Orbán.

Four main pillars drive national populism: distrust of the elitist nature of liberal democracy and the feeling of not having a voice; destruction of the nation by immigration and hyper ethnic change; rela
Owen Spencer
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Trump. Brexit. Victor Orban. Marine Le Pen. Alternative for Germany. And now Vox in Spain, Sinn Fein in Ireland. The list of national populist movements across the Western world goes on. Are these movement the irrational prejudices of angry old white men, fuelled by inflammatory campaigns backed by Russian bots and fake news?

Eatwell and Goodwin look at the data over the past decades to uncover the trends in public opinion that have lead to genuine concerns in many voters which have paved the way
Luke Jenner
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very useful and evidence based book about an urgent topic. I feel like I understand recent national populist movements much better having read this book. The authors largely abstain from voicing their own political stance which is refreshing if you read a lot of political news/analysis via media.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Clarifies 2016 political upheavals better than anyone
Matthew Greenwood
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A timely piece that, contrary to the typical left-wing belief, reminds us that national populism is likely here to stay.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Certainly offered a different (and I guess more compassionate?) look at populism that I wasn't privy too in my little political bubble. But boy was this book repetitive at times.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
An essential read for everyone in the UK right now. It casts a light on BREXIT unlike the plethora of opinion pieces that abound, very few of which will do anything except confirm existing positions.

This books takes a historically and geographically broad view of the current political upheavals, towards populist movements on right and left, and, for the first time in non-academic literature (that I am aware of) offers understanding rather than condemnation.

If you are want to be informed about
Nick Carnac
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Why people feel/vote the way they have , analysis of statistical evidence in European and American arenas , advice and rationale behind the phenomena of Trump and Brexit . Cautionary notes for urban , neoliberal silo-dwelling Remoaners,,,,,,
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
While I disagree with some of the arguments it contains, this is important reading for anyone who considers themselves a liberal or leftist in our current times. Specifically, "National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy" is wake-up call to anyone who thinks that dismissing every Trump supporter as "racist" is a viable political strategy; it may be true, but no one ever won an election just by being right.

Eatwell and Goodwin suggest that the surge of right-wing populism, as seen in
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
First off, this book is pretty laden with bias. It reminded me of a right wing retort to Jason Stanley’s “How Fascism Works”, with the former being an apologetic text on what the author calls “national populism” and the latter being a left wing mischaracterization of right wing populists as fascists. Either way, this book does a good job at explaining the ideology of the “national populist” movement although, if I have one critique about the content itself, the authors place way too much assumpt ...more
Justin Evans
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-etc
Clearly written, well-organized, and mostly well-argued; other reviewers have allowed their heads to explode over the idea that people who vote for nationalists and populists might actually have reasons for doing what they do, and I will confess that I was a bit put off by the authors' unwillingness to supplement their factual claim (people like national populists because they don't like immigration, and arguing that immigration is great won't change that) with a moral claim (something like, "in ...more
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
Interesting reading, if somewhat depressing from the point of view of lefty-liberal college-educated avocado-munching millennials such as myself.
The authors do a good job of explaining the longer-term trends underlying recent historical events such as the rise of Trump and the Brexit vote, including overviews of several other European countries which get generally less attention from the UK media. The writing style is unemotional without being too dry.
They are less helpful at making predictions
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • What Is Populism?
  • The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics
  • The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity
  • Populism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Shadowplay: Behind the Lines and Under Fire: The Inside Story of Europe's Last War
  • The Light that Failed: A Reckoning
  • Who Governs Britain?
  • Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee
  • Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities
  • Neoconservatism: Why We Need It
  • The Far Right Today
  • The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius
  • The Virtue of Nationalism
  • How to Be a Conservative
  • The Prime Ministers: Reflections on Leadership from Wilson to May
  • The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It
  • Why We Get the Wrong Politicians
  • Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power
See similar books…

News & Interviews

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
35 likes · 13 comments
“They would also feel firmly at odds with the growing number of graduates and more liberal-minded middle-class professionals who hold what they see as self-evident truths about immigration, minority rights, European integration and unrestricted free trade. National populists tend to view their national community from a more restricted perspective, highlighting the critical importance of ethnic ancestry – or at least shared customs and values which can be forged in ‘melting pots’, as US history shows. In” 0 likes
More quotes…