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Fascism: A Very Short Introduction

door Kevin Passmore

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What is fascism? Is it revolutionary? Or is it reactionary? Can it be both?Fascism is notoriously hard to define. How do we make sense of an ideology that appeals to streetfighters and intellectuals alike? That is overtly macho in style, yet attracts many women? That calls for a return to tradition while maintaining a fascination with technology? And that preaches violencein the name of an ordered society?In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Kevin Passmore brilliantly unravels the paradoxes of one of the most important phenomena in the modern world - tracing its origins in the intellectual, political, and social crises of the late nineteenth century, the rise of fascism following WorldWar I, including fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, and the fortunes of "failed" fascist movements in Eastern Europe, Spain, and the Americas. He also considers fascism in culture, the new interest in transnational research, and the progress of the far right since 2002.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.… (meer)
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Some clarity on this murky subject; and finally an answer to a question I asked my history teacher 50 years ago. ( )
  jmhdassen | Mar 27, 2021 |
While at times I felt like I needed an introduction to this introduction, I still managed to glean a handful of the most important details about Fascism from Passmore's short little book. While the beginnings of the movement took place among French saltworks laborers fighting against Italian immigrants, Mussolini's rise to power in Italy between WWI and WWII marks the beginning of the movement on a grand scale. Even from that grassroots development to its advent on the world stage, Fascists, like all -isms, covered an array of beliefs and topics, but a profound and sometimes violent ultranationalism always unified the factions. Fascists desire nations with as little diversity as possible, firmly rejecting people with different ethnicities and races and religions. Some of Passmore's finer details on economics and political science were sadly lost on me, written perhaps more for students or those with backgrounds in politics that aren't Fascism. ( )
  revatait | Feb 21, 2021 |
I read the first edition (2002) it has since been updated (2014).

very interesting and informative. noticeably lacking developments in the 21st century, as expected, though it suffered for this. If the update is as well written I guess I would give it 4 stars. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
$995 mxn
  BIBLIOTECATLACUILO | Dec 17, 2020 |
This is clearly a book aimed particularly at students, and seems to achieve its brevity by compressing its contents rather than thinning them out, so it wasn't the easiest thing to listen to as an audiobook whilst busy with other activities. But it overlaps quite heavily with other things I've been reading over the last couple of months, so I think I was able to grasp the essentials...

Passmore spends quite a while dealing with the problem of definitions. The two clear historical examples, Italian Fascism and German Nazism, differed in important ways from each other, and both also changed considerably over the course of time. Other right-wing movements in Europe and elsewhere in the inter-war period often borrowed language, labels and ideas from the successful Italian and German movements, but differed considerably on things like the way they came to power (if they did), the extent to which they worked together with church, army, monarchy and mainstream conservatives, and even on whether or not their ultranationalism was based on racism (and if so, against which groups). Since World War II, the label "fascist" has been so tainted that no serious political movement (except the Italian Neo-fascists) has used it to define itself, whilst the rest of us have been happy to attach it to just about any political movement we didn't like. (Since the book was written in 2002 and only partly updated in 2014, it doesn't have much to say in detail about the current crop of far-right parties.)

Academic political scientists also use the term in conflicting and confusing ways. Passmore urges us to separate this essentially historical problem of definitions from the more important question of what we find morally repugnant in the programmes of far-right/nationalist/populist parties, which seems a helpful way of looking at things.

The other interesting point I took from the book is his identification of the common element between the ways Mussolini and Hitler came to power. In both cases a relatively modest electoral success was backed up by the (perceived) threat of large-scale civil disorder from the party's paramilitary organisations, which was enough to intimidate established parties into putting the extremists in power, and once in power the existing mobilisation of activists allowed the party to eliminate effective opposition very rapidly. None of the other movements of the 20s and 30s achieved this combination, and — so far — most of the modern far-right parties have shown no sign of trying to lock up their opponents and impose a single-party state. As Passmore says, this doesn't make their xenophobic rhetoric any less offensive, but it does mean that it probably isn't helpful to use their perceived similarity to Hitler and Mussolini as the core of our strategy for opposing them.

Probably a good book to read if you want to get the historical background clear in your mind, but rather superficial in its treatment of 21st century movements. ( )
  thorold | Mar 5, 2020 |
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In the late 19th century, the saltworks of Mediterranean France were largely unmechanized, and the task of lifting salt was an exceptionally exhausting form of labour.
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What is fascism? Is it revolutionary? Or is it reactionary? Can it be both?Fascism is notoriously hard to define. How do we make sense of an ideology that appeals to streetfighters and intellectuals alike? That is overtly macho in style, yet attracts many women? That calls for a return to tradition while maintaining a fascination with technology? And that preaches violencein the name of an ordered society?In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Kevin Passmore brilliantly unravels the paradoxes of one of the most important phenomena in the modern world - tracing its origins in the intellectual, political, and social crises of the late nineteenth century, the rise of fascism following WorldWar I, including fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, and the fortunes of "failed" fascist movements in Eastern Europe, Spain, and the Americas. He also considers fascism in culture, the new interest in transnational research, and the progress of the far right since 2002.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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