Cover image for Fascism : a warning / Madeleine Albright ; with Bill Woodward.
Title:
Fascism : a warning / Madeleine Albright ; with Bill Woodward.
ISBN:
9780062802187
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
288 pages ; 24 cm
Contents:
A doctrine of anger and fear -- The greatest show on earth -- "We want to be barbarians" -- "Close your hearts to pity" -- Victory of the Caesars -- The fall -- Dictatorship of democracy -- "There are a lot of bodies up there" -- A difficult art -- President for life -- Erdoğan the magnificent -- Man from the KGB -- "We are who we were" -- "The leader will always be with us" -- President of the United States -- Bad dreams -- The right questions.
Abstract:
A Fascist, observes Madeleine Albright, 'is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.' The twentieth century was defined by the clash between democracy and Fascism, a struggle that created uncertainty about the survival of human freedom and left millions of innocent people dead. Given the horrors of that experience, one might expect the world to reject the spiritual successors to Hitler and Mussolini should they arise in our era. Albright draws on her experiences as a child in war-torn Europe and her distinguished career as a diplomat to question that very assumption. Fascism, Albright shows, not only endured through the course of the twentieth century, but now presents a more virulent threat to peace and justice than at any time since the end of World War II. The momentum toward democracy that swept the world when the Berlin Wall fell has gone into reverse. The United States, which has historically championed the free world, is led by a president who exacerbates popular divisions and heaps scorn on democratic institutions. In many countries, economic, technological, and cultural factors are weakening the political center and empowering the extremes of right and left. Contemporary leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are employing many of the same tactics used by Fascists in the 1920s and 30s. Written with wisdom by someone who has not only studied history but helped to shape it, this call to arms teaches us the lessons we must understand and the questions we must answer if we are to save ourselves from repeating the tragic errors of the past.
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Summary

Summary

#1 New York Times Bestseller

A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today's world, written by one of America's most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state

A Fascist, observes Madeleine Albright, "is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have."

The twentieth century was defined by the clash between democracy and Fascism, a struggle that created uncertainty about the survival of human freedom and left millions dead. Given the horrors of that experience, one might expect the world to reject the spiritual successors to Hitler and Mussolini should they arise in our era. In Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright draws on her experiences as a child in war-torn Europe and her distinguished career as a diplomat to question that assumption.

Fascism, as she shows, not only endured through the twentieth century but now presents a more virulent threat to peace and justice than at any time since the end of World War II. The momentum toward democracy that swept the world when the Berlin Wall fell has gone into reverse. The United States, which historically championed the free world, is led by a president who exacerbates division and heaps scorn on democratic institutions. In many countries, economic, technological, and cultural factors are weakening the political center and empowering the extremes of right and left. Contemporary leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are employing many of the tactics used by Fascists in the 1920s and 30s.

Fascism: A Warning is a book for our times that is relevant to all times. Written by someone who has not only studied history but helped to shape it, this call to arms teaches us the lessons we must understand and the questions we must answer if we are to save ourselves from repeating the tragic errors of the past.


Author Notes

Madeleine Korbelová Albright was born May 15, 1937 in the Smíchov district of Prague, Czechoslovakia. She attended Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on a full scholarship, majoring in political science and graduated in 1959. Her senior thesis was written on Czech Communist Zdenek Fierlinger Her PhD is from Columbia University. She holds honorary degrees from Brandeis University; the University of Washington; Smith College; University of Winnipeg; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , and Knox College. Albright worked as an intern for The Denver Post and as a picture editor for Encyclopædia Britannica. She was invited to organize a fund-raising dinner for the 1972 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Ed Muskie of Maine.This association with Muskie led to a position as his chief legislative assistant in 1976. However, after the 1976 U.S. presidential election of Jimmy Carter, Albright's former professor Brzezinski was named National Security Advisor, and recruited Albright from Muskie in 1978 to work in the West Wing as the National Security Council's congressional liaison. Albright joined the academic staff at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1982, specializing in Eastern European studies. In 1992, Bill Clinton returned the White House to the Democratic Party, and Albright was employed to handle the transition to a new administration at the National Security Council. In January 1993, Clinton nominated her to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Albright soon took office as the 64th U.S. Secretary of State on January 23, 1997 and she became the first female U.S. Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. Albright now serves as a Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service. Her title Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 made The New York Times Best Seller list for 2012. Her most recent book is Fascism: A Warning.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Yes, it can happen here-and in other countries-according to Albright's far-ranging exploration of the history and latter-day prospects of fascism. The Georgetown professor and former Clinton secretary of state identifies various characteristics of fascism, including hypernationalism and populism mixed with authoritarian-leaning rule, militarism, contempt for democratic customs, persecution of minority populations, a dread of disorder and decadence, charismatic leaders, and public spectacles. After probing accounts of the fascist models of Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany, she finds that toxic brew in present-day Venezuela, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Russia, North Korea, and right-wing parties generally. And then, she writes, there's Donald Trump, "the first anti-democratic president in modern U.S. history," whose bluster, "paranoid bigotry" against Muslims and immigrants, America-firstism, and rhetorical attacks on the press and judiciary set a fascistic example for world leaders and abdicate America's role as global protector of democracy. Albright's incisive analyses are enriched by her experiences as a refugee from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia-her Jewish grandmother died in a concentration camp-and as America's diplomat-in-chief; her vivid sketch of a surprisingly rational Kim Jong-Il anchors a sharp critique of Trump's erratic approach to North Korea. Albright sometimes paints with too broad a brush in conceptualizing fascism, but she offers cogent insights on worrisome political trends. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


New York Review of Books Review

THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL caused euphoria in the West. George H. W. Bush declared that "the end of the Cold War has been a victory for all humanity," and Vaclav Havel predicted Europe would create "a new kind of order" where the powerful would no longer suppress the less powerful and disputes would no longer be settled by force. How far away those days seem. What happened to this optimism? Why has the momentum toward democracy and international comity slowed? Why, as Madeleine Albright asks early in her new book, "are we once again talking about fascism?" Who better to address these questions than Albright, whose life was shaped by fascism and whose contribution to the cultivation of democracy as a stateswoman and private citizen is unparalleled? In "Fascism: A Warning" Albright (with Bill Woodward) draws on her personal history, government experience and conversations with Georgetown students to assess current dangers and how to deal with them. Albright does this via an examination of cases in Europe and America from World War I through the present day. From this, some patterns emerge. First, fascism flourishes alongside economic, social and political chaos. Take the classic cases of interwar Germany and Italy. The Weimar Republic was buffeted by the Great Inflation and the Great Depression, violent left- and right-wing uprisings and the humiliation of a lost war, together with a punitive peace. Interwar Italy was battered by high inflation and unemployment, and paralyzed for almost two years by strikes and lockouts as left- and rightwing gangs battled in the streets. These conditions resulted in citizens who were fearful and desperate. While the turmoil in Europe after World War I was extreme, Albright notes similar dynamics in other places and times: Hugo Chavez's recent rise to power was fueled by deteriorating social and economic conditions and growing inequality in Venezuela; Viktor Orbán came to power as Hungary was experiencing the painful fallout of the financial crisis; and Vladimir Putin emerged as Russia was in the midst of economic and national decline similar to that experienced by interwar Germany. (During the 1990s Russia's economy shrank by more than half.) But problems only become opportunities for fascists and other antidemocrats if their opponents can't or won't address them. A second factor emerging from Albright's cases is weak and divided oppositions. In interwar Italy liberal governments dithered while the country slid into chaos and the two largest parties, the Socialists and Christian Democrats, were more interested in defending the interests of their particular constituencies than democracy. In the Weimar Republic, the country's largest party, the Social Democrats, was more committed to democracy than its Italian counterpart, but it too faltered during the Great Depression and was continually attacked by antidemocratic left- and right-wing forces. While their opponents fought among themselves and let their country's troubles deepen, fascists offered voters simple explanations of their problems in the form of enemies like nefarious foreign powers or Jews, and simple solutions to them, namely replacing weak and unresponsive democracies with strong dictatorships truly responsive to "the people." Adolf Hitler once explained: "I will tell you what has carried me to the position I have reached. Our political problems appeared complicated. The German people could make nothing of them. ... I, on the other hand ... reduced them to the simplest terms. The masses realized this and followed me." Albright finds similar dynamics in many other cases. In her native Czechoslovakia after World War II the weakness of the country's president, Edvard Benes, facilitated Communism's takeover. In modern Hungary, the corruption and dishonesty of the governing Socialist party paved the way for Orbán. In Russia, Boris Yeltsin's inability to halt his country's precipitous economic decline or the rapacious raiding of resources by oligarchs eased Putin's power grab. Finally, Albright's cases reveal a third factor in fascism's rise: the connivance of conservatives. In both interwar Italy and Germany conservatives believed they could control fascism and use its popular support to achieve their own goals. In Italy King Victor Emmanuel III and in Germany President Paul von Hindenburg were persuaded by conservative advisers to hand power over to Mussolini and Hitler, respectively, even though neither had won electoral majorities. So where does this leave us today? There are worrying parallels: Although the situation is not nearly as dire as the interwar period, Western democracy currently faces significant challenges. To avoid having these snowball into the type of crisis fascism feeds off, Albright hopes antifascists will learn from history. In the United States this means Democrats and Republicans must work together again to solve our country's problems - and Republicans must not allow the fervidness of Trump's supporters to blind them to the danger to democracy that he represents. There are international parallels and lessons as well. During the interwar years Europe's problems were aggravated by America's withdrawal from the global stage; Albright worries that Trump's isolationism, protectionism and fondness for dictators are eroding America's ability to lead and help solve international challenges, deepening divisions within the West and emboldening antidemocratic forces. Despite all this, Albright is hopeful. She ends her book referencing leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela, who helped their countries move past periods of intense violence and division. Democracy's problems can, Albright assures us, be overcome - but only if we recognize history's lessons and never take democracy for granted. "The temptation," she notes, "is powerful to close our eyes and wait for the worst to pass, but history tells us that for freedom to survive, it must be defended, and that if lies are to stop, they must be exposed." ?


Library Journal Review

Former U.S. secretary of state Albright began work on this book before the 2016 election as a response to assaults on democratic values in other countries but asserts its relevance only increased during and since the election. In discussions during Albright's classes at Georgetown University, she and her students concluded that fascism should be viewed more as a means of seizing and holding power than as a political ideology. They defined it as an extreme form of authoritarian rule linked to a doctrine of rabid nationalism. Through her perspective as a victim of Hitler's takeover of her native Czechoslovakia in 1938, Albright summarizes the history of fascism from its origins in Italy during the 1920s and rise in Germany in the 1930s. The author further documents modern experiences in countries such as Venezuela, Turkey, and Hungary that have replaced democratic systems with more authoritarian governments and relates meeting former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, explaining why government may best represent fascism today. Albright hopes that citizens are aware of the challenges to democratic values; for freedom to survive, she believes, it must be defended. Verdict Readers interested in political systems and international relations will appreciate Albright's outlook. [See Prepub Alert, 10/9/17.]-Jill Ortner, SUNY Buffalo Libs. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

1 A Doctrine of Anger and Fearp. 1
2 The Greatest Show on Earthp. 15
3 "We Want to be Barbarians"p. 29
4 "Close Your Hearts to Pity"p. 43
5 Victory of the Caesarsp. 55
6 The Fallp. 65
7 Dictatorship of Democracyp. 79
8 "There are a Lot of Bodies up There"p. 95
9 A Difficult Artp. 109
10 President for Lifep. 121
11 Erdogan the Magnificentp. 137
12 Man from the KGBp. 155
13 "We are Who We Were"p. 169
14 "The Leader will Always be With Us"p. 189
15 President of the United Statesp. 207
16 Bad Dreamsp. 225
17 The Right Questionsp. 241
Acknowledgmentsp. 255
Notesp. 259
Indexp. 271

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