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American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,720 ratings  ·  368 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, 272 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
Lilo
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone who has a few working braincells and does not wish to live in a theocracy
There are 180 reviews of this book on Goodreads. Most of them are highly informative and to the point. Please read them—read them all! And then, read the book. It is a MUST-READ.

I do not see any reason to repeat what other reviewers have said, so this review will be very short:

I didn't like Chris Hedges’ run-on writing style. Yet this is not important. The well-researched contents of this book are so alarming that the poor writing style matters no more than an unattractive color matters on a roa
...more
Jessaka
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
I don’t remember much of this book, and I had given it away. What I can say is that after the Tea Party got into power, I noticed that some of my old friends were in it. I learned that Christians were now getting into politics in a big way and wished to change the laws to suit themselves and then want to force those laws onto everyone else.

In fact, before moving to the south, I had only a few negative views of Christianity, but now I have grown to fear and dislike the far fight Christians. I ha
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 15, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Paltia
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting and, I’m wanting to add another descriptive bit here but find emptiness. Okay, I’ll go with an ominous and frightening reality.
Kaelan Ratcliffe▪Κάϊλαν Ράτκλιφ▪كايِلان راتكِليف
A Plea To America

I might not be American, but I still feared the growing right-wing elements appearing from the fringes of it's society post-9/11. I speak in the past tense for good reason. These forces are no longer circling the outside of the open society like vultures, they're in the white house, and in power. Men like the born again Evangelical Mike Pence, and flat out white-supremacist Steve Bannon (to name a few) have - to steal a term from Hedges - been "vomited" up from the slime of
...more
Douglas McGaw
Oct 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
David Stephens
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
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
Bruce
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Amy
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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
Jay
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-studies
This book popped up on my "Recommendations" from Goodreads this morning - I had completely forgotten that I had read it in 2007. I gave it four stars because I think his premise is correct on many points - for example that the politics of what is now anointed as "conservatism" by the Christian and not-so-Christian right is informed by an apocalyptic vision of the imminent second coming of Our Lord and Savior (I believe that He is coming, also, but when that is is up to the Father: "But about tha ...more
Joe
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves this country
Recommended to Joe by: James Lay
Very interesting and scary book. I do not want America to become a Christian nation. We have been a nation founded on Judeo/ Christian beliefs. We need to keep it that way. Many of our forefathers left England in the name of religious freedom.
Seperation of church and state is one of the major things that have made this country great. The religious right wants to take our freedom of religion away. They are corrupting the Bible in their efforts to do so. They want to control education in America.
...more
Donna
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nancy
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Alex
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: atheism
A brilliantly researched and written argument that highlights the totalitarian elements of religion and its inhuman role in modern politics. Should be required reading for high school students but hey, in a country where 'intelligent design' is considered factual in way too many communities, that aint gonna happen :)
Tim
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
The most disturbing book I have yet read about America. God help us all if these loons ever get their way.
William Galaini
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Guillermo Galvan
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Leslie
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Colleen
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Genine Franklin-Clark
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
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
Bill and Ruth
Dec 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was raised in one of the churches mentioned in this book in the 1950's and 1960's until I learned from a real science teacher in the 8th grade how truth is found using the scientific method. Since leaving the church back then I hadn't really kept up with the doings of the Christian Right. This book is a good update about how they have changed from a gentle proselytizing to an all out war to keep people from learning and knowing the truth about the natural world.
D Steven Ledingham
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book and it scared the check out of me. The influence of a subset of evangelical Christians on the political agenda of the Republican party, or vise versa is extremely clear. The emphasis on guns, God, gays and restriction of women's rights is very clearly driven by the "faith-based" community.
I am terrified at the prospect of any government that is run or creates laws based on a specific subset of their religious views. Legislated morality is a very dangerous concept, especiall
...more
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
sologdin
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
basic thesis is that all'y'all who say well, it's their religion and they have a right to it, no matter how kooky they get are part of the problem because these motherfuckers would take over the world and kill everyone off, as in The Turner Diaries, if people let them. and that's how fascists get in, through the polite acquiescence of everyone else.

can't say that I disagree, really.
Bonnie Brandt
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I just could not finish this book. I’m very liberal. I believe in most of the ideas they’re trying to express in this book. But it was just so damn depressing! It also seemed a little on the excessive and dramatic side too.
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1,106 followers
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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