"So fair, so thorough and, in the end, so convincing, it may well become the most authoritative . . . study of the subject. . . . A splendid book." –The New York Times Book Review
"Useful and timely. . . . Mussolini and Hitler were the prototypical fascist leaders, and Paxton chronicles their rise to power–and their global influence and ultimate fall–with a brilliant economy." –San Francisco Chronicle
"A deeply intelligent and very readable book. . . . Historical analysis at its best." –The Economist
“[A] helpful contribution, thoughtfully mapping out the descent of a civilized people — first the Italians, then the Germans — into a primal state (and state of being) ruled by mythology, symbol and emotion. . . . Serves as a reminder of our power and responsibility.” –The Washington Post Book World
“Until now there has been no satisfying account of fascism that includes a convincing diagnostic kit for identifying its symptoms. . . . Robert Paxton steps in to restore sanity, with his view that fascism is not what was believed but what was done.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
Chapter 1 Introduction
The Invention of Fascism
Images of Fascism
Where Do We Go from Here?
Chapter 2 Creating Fascist Movements
The Immediate Background
Intellectual, Cultural, and Emotional Roots
Understanding Fascism by Its Origins
Chapter 3 Taking Root
—(1) The Po Valley, Italy, 1920–22
—(2) Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, 1928–33
An Unsuccessful Fascism: France, 1924–40
Some Other Unsuccessful Fascisms
Comparisons and Conclusions
Chapter 4 Getting Power
Mussolini and the “March on Rome”
Hitler and the “Backstairs Conspiracy”
What Did Not Happen: Election, Coup d’Etat, Solo Triumph Forming Alliances
What Fascists Offered the Establishment
The Prefascist Crisis
Revolutions after Power: Germany and Italy
Comparisons and Alternatives
Chapter 5 Exercising Power
The Nature of Fascist Rule: “Dual State” and Dynamic Shapelessness
The Tug-of-War between Fascists and Conservatives
The Tug-of-War between Leader and Party
The Tug-of-War between Party and State
Accommodation, Enthusiasm, Terror
The Fascist “Revolution”
Chapter 6 The Long Term: Radicalization or Entropy?
What Drives Radicalization?
Trying to Account for the Holocaust
Italian Radicalization: Internal Order, Ethiopia, Salò
Chapter 7 Other Times, Other Places
Is Fascism Still Possible?
Western Europe since 1945
Post-Soviet Eastern Europe
Fascism Outside Europe
Chapter 8 What Is Fascism?
What Is Fascism?