Jason Stanley – How Fascism Works


“A vital read for a nation under Trump.” (The Guardian)

“By placing Trump in transnational and transhistorical perspective, Stanley sees patterns that others miss…. Twenty months into Trump’s presidency, the evidence is mounting that he’s right.” (The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice)

Fascist politics are running rampant in America today – and spreading around the world. A Yale philosopher identifies the ten pillars of fascist politics, and charts their horrifying rise and deep history.

As the child of refugees of World War II Europe and a renowned philosopher and scholar of propaganda, Jason Stanley has a deep understanding of how democratic societies can be vulnerable to fascism: Nations dont have to be fascist to suffer from fascist politics. In fact, fascisms roots have been present in the United States for more than a century.

Alarmed by the pervasive rise of fascist tactics both at home and around the globe, Stanley focuses here on the structures that unite them, laying out and analyzing the ten pillars of fascist politics – the language and beliefs that separate people into an us and a them. He knits together reflections on history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory with stories from contemporary Hungary, Poland, India, Myanmar, and the United States, among other nations. He makes clear the immense danger of underestimating the cumulative power of these tactics, which include exploiting a mythic version of a nations past; propaganda that twists the language of democratic ideals against themselves; anti-intellectualism directed against universities and experts; law and order politics predicated on the assumption that members of minority groups are criminals; and fierce attacks on labor groups and welfare. These mechanisms all build on one another, creating and reinforcing divisions and shaping a society vulnerable to the appeals of authoritarian leadership.

By uncovering disturbing patterns that are as prevalent today as ever, Stanley reveals that the stuff of politics – charged by rhetoric and myth – can quickly become policy and reality. Only by recognizing fascists politics, he argues, may we resist its most harmful effects and return to democratic ideals.

“With unsettling insight and disturbing clarity, How Fascism Works is an essential guidebook to our current national dilemma of democracy vs. authoritarianism.” (William Jelani Cobb, author of The Substance of Hope)

Author: Jason Stanley
Narrator: MacLeod Andrews
Duration: 5 hours 44 minutes
Released: 18 Apr 2009
Publisher: Random House Audio
Language: English

User Review:

provocation listening

The author is the son of immigrants who fled Nazi Germany. He states that he is troubled that fascist politics is on the rise throughout the world again.

The book is well written and researched. Stanley analyzes the many strategies that fascist regimes employ: publicizing the idea of a mythic past, use of propaganda and conspiracy theories, anti-intellectualism, the replacement of reasoned debate with fear and anger, casting doubt on media, denial of equality, white male superiority, culture of victimhood, perpetuation of the Us and Them based on ethnic, religious and racial identities just to list a few the author discusses.
I felt the main message of the book was about his worry of complacency. He states his grandmothers generation refused to acknowledge the Nazi threat until it was too late. He states that today the normalization of extreme policies poses an urgent challenge. Stanley is calling on democracies to resist the insidious encroachment of fascism.

The book is five hours and forty-four minutes. MacLeod Andrews does a good job narrating the book. Andrews is an actor and audiobook narrator. He has won the Audie Award for Steelheart and numerous EarPhone Awards.