Preparatory reading
November 16, 2016 6:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good, readable book or three about the social and political dynamics of fascist, demagogic, and authoritarian regimes (especially in the early, consolidation-of-power stages). Nothing too terribly academic – something approximately as accessible as Guns, Germs, and Steel would be ideal.

Nazi Germany is the obvious go-to – and a good book on that topic would certainly be welcome. But I'm hoping to round that out with some other stuff – other parts of the world, other eras of history, etc.

Basically, I want to get a broad survey of how demagogues and authoritarians win followers and subdue challenges to their power: how they successfully encourage the populace to blame their frustrations on scapegoats; how they undermine opposition and dissidents (e.g., control of the media); how they construct and sell nationalist myths; etc.

posted by escape from the potato planet to Law & Government (6 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
It isn't exactly the same, but I had a pretty similar question the other day and got a lot of answers that you might find helpful.
posted by forza at 7:06 PM on November 16, 2016

Hannah Arendt wrote a fantastic book on fascism.
posted by xammerboy at 7:35 PM on November 16, 2016

Read The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, written by La Boétie in the 16th Century. It's a compelling read especially when you know how old the author was at the time he wrote it.
posted by Kwadeng at 1:03 AM on November 17, 2016

Fascism: A Very Short Introduction by Kevin Passmore is quite academic, but is very short. Its major themes include how difficult it is to nail down a definition of fascism (allowing fascists to deny that they are fascists, because they don't do _____) and the differences between fascism and nazism.
posted by scruss at 5:48 AM on November 17, 2016

I found The Dictator's Learning Curve to be readable and engrossing, and focuses on "modern" authoritarian regimes operating in contexts that require them to be more crafty and subtle than many of the despots of yore.
posted by exutima at 9:08 AM on November 17, 2016

« Older Best non-fiction holocaust books   |   Really nice coworker - who is also a Trump... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.