Fascism - A Very Short Introduction

Review :

Fascism and Communism are the two major evil political systems that dominated the twentieth century politics. They both have their roots in the nineteenth century European ideas and circumstances, but have managed to have an unprecedented global impact. Unlike Communism, though, Fascism has been comparatively much less studied and even less understood. This primarily stems from the fact that there are no "canonical texts" of Fascism. It seems like a much more ad-hoc and opportunistic movement, and it embraced a vast variety of political regimes and institutions.

This very short introduction tries to present as a comprehensive of a view of Fascism as it's possible in a book of such a short length. Instead of trying to give a single overarching definition, the book presents several different definitions and schools of thought on what Fascism is. This approach is probably the most intellectually honest for such a heterogeneous topic. The book gives the case studies of several important Fascist regimes, starting, of course, with the ur-Fascist regime in Italy. The Italian Fascism was also one of the longest lasting Fascist regimes, and one that most other such regimes tried to emulate. However, even within the context of Italian Fascism there have been many significant changes and developments over the years, the most notorious one being the embrace of anti-Semitism in the late 1930s in an attempt to more closely align itself with German Nazism. In fact, it is still an open question of Nazism and Fascism are indeed two manifestations of the same phenomenon, or if they are sufficiently different to be treated separately by political scientists and historian.

This is a very well written and an immensely informative book. The author manages to present his very clear mastery of this topic in a manner that is accessible to the widest imaginable audience. He manages to give a very coherent account of a pretty heterogeneous and difficult subject. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in political history, or history and politics in general.

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