Focusing mostly on Italy and Germany but also considering Spain, Romania, Japan, and movements in other countries, Payne (history, U. of Wisconsin) describes fascism as revolutionary ultranationalism based on national rebirth, extreme elitism, mass mobilization, and the promotion of violence and military virtues. He also suggests that the early Russian communists borrowed many techniques from fascism, and that though we are fairly well inoculated against fascism itself, the values it represents could still emerge in new forms.
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“A History of Fascism is an invaluable sourcebook, offering a rare combination of detailed information and thoughtful analysis. It is a masterpiece of comparative history, for the comparisons enhance our understanding of each part of the whole. The term ‘fascist,’ used so freely these days as a pejorative epithet that has nearly lost its meaning, is precisely defined, carefully applied, and skillfully explained. The analysis effectively restores the dimension of evil.”
Susan Zuccotti, The Nation
“Likely to be the definitive study of its subject for a considerable time.”
— New York Times Book Review
“A magisterial, wholly accessible, engaging study…Payne defines fascism as a form of ultranationalism espousing a myth of national rebirth and marked by extreme elitism, mobilization of the masses, exaltation of hierarchy and subordination, oppression of women, and an embrace of violence and war as virtues.”
— Publishers Weekly
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About Stanley G. Payne
Stanley G. Payne is the Hilldale–Jaume Vicens Vives Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His many books include The Franco Regime: 1936–1975; Fascism: Comparison and Definition; and Spain’s First Democracy: The Second Republic, 1931–1936, all published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
About Michael Kramer
Michael Kramer is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, and recipient of a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award. He is also an actor and director in the Washington, DC, area, where he is active in the area’s theater scene and has appeared in productions at the Shakespeare Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and Theater J.