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The Career of a Concept
Paul E. Gottfried
“Gottfried brings vast erudition and interpretive nuance to the subject of fascism. This book is a significant contribution to the fields of political thought and European history.”—Jeff Taylor, Dordt College
“Gottfried’s study is particular, nuanced, and multifaceted . . . a model for the type of work that can earn the right a hearing from more attentive audiences.” —The American Conservative
“Fascism is a meticulously researched primer on the true history of one of the world’s worst ideologies. Upon finishing the book, readers will emerge with a firmer understanding of history, philosophy, and the ways in which words shape culture and reality.” —Jay Lehr, The Heartland Institute
What does it mean to label someone a fascist? Today, it is equated with denouncing him or her as a Nazi. But as intellectual historian Paul E. Gottfried writes in this provocative yet even-handed study, the term’s meaning has evolved over the years. Gottfried examines the semantic twists and turns the term has endured since the 1930s and traces the word’s polemical function within the context of present ideological struggles. Like “conservatism,” “liberalism,” and other words whose meanings have changed with time, “fascism” has been used arbitrarily over the years and now stands for a host of iniquities that progressives, multiculturalists, and libertarians oppose, even if they offer no single, coherent account of the historic evil they condemn.
November 2015 256 pp., 6x9
Paul E. Gottfried is the retired Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and a Guggenheim recipient. He is the author of numerous books, including The Search for Historical Meaning (NIU Press, 2010) and, most recently, Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America.
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