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The Best Books About Fascism

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“What are the best books about Fascism?” We looked at 108 of the top books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 19 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Fascism” book lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 75+ titles, as well as the lists we used are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 19 Fascism Books



19 .) A History of Fascism, 1914-1945 by Stanley G. Payne

Lists It Appears On:

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Goodreads

Focusing mostly on Italy and Germany but also considering Spain, Romania, Japan, and movements in other countries, Payne (history, U. of Wisconsin) describes fascism as revolutionary ultranationalism based on national rebirth, extreme elitism, mass mobilization, and the promotion of violence and military virtues. He also suggests that the early Russian communists borrowed many techniques from fascism, and that though we are fairly well inoculated against fascism itself, the values it represents could still emerge in new forms.

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18 .) Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Newsweek

It presents a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Reich, they launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.

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17 .) Fascists by Michael Mann

Lists It Appears On:

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Goodreads

Focusing on the six countries in which fascism became most dominant (Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Spain), this study analyzes the beliefs and actions of people who became fascists in an attempt to view fascism through its own eyes. The result is an original depiction of fascism as “violent, transcendent nation-statism”, and a unique perspective differing from other previous theories of fascism.

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16 .) Hitler 1936-1945 by Ian Kershaw

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

Draws on previously unused sources, including Joseph Goebbel’s diaries, to encompass the the period beginning with the Nazi dictator’s attaining absolute power within Germany, through the second World War, to Hitler’s suicide.

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15 .) V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Goodreads

“A new trade paperback edition of the graphic novel that inspired the hit movie!

A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V FOR VENDETTA takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet.

In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It’s a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.

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14 .) Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

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13 .) On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. We are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.

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12 .) The Anatomy of Fascism by Robert O. Paxton

Lists It Appears On:

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Goodreads

What is fascism? Many authors have proposed definitions, but most fail to move beyond the abstract. The esteemed historian Robert O. Paxton answers this question for the first time by focusing on the concrete: what the fascists did, rather than what they said. From the first violent uniformed bands beating up “enemies of the state,” through Mussolini’s rise to power, to Germany’s fascist radicalization in World War II, Paxton shows clearly why fascists came to power in some countries and not others, and explores whether fascism could exist outside the early-twentieth-century European setting in which it emerged.

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11 .) The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time. A masterful synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with important new research and interpretations, Evans’s history restores drama and contingency to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis, even as it shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian’s art and the book by which all others on the subject will be judged.

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10 .) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Newsweek

In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

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9 .) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Newsweek

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

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8 .) The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • New Statesman

When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh defeated Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election, fear invaded every Jewish household in America. Not only had Lindbergh, in a nationwide radio address, publicly blamed the Jews for selfishly pushing America toward a pointless war with Nazi Germany, but upon taking office as the thirty-third president of the United States, he negotiated a cordial “understanding” with Adolf Hitler, whose conquest of Europe and virulent anti-Semitic policies he appeared to accept without difficulty. What then followed in America is the historical setting for this startling new book by Pulitzer Prize–winner Philip Roth, who recounts what it was like for his Newark family — and for a million such families all over the country — during the menacing years of the Lindbergh presidency, when American citizens who happened to be Jews had every reason to expect the worst.

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7 .) The Third Reich at War by Richard J. Evans

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

Evans interweaves a broad narrative of the war’s progress with viscerally affecting personal testimony from a wide range of people—from generals to front-line soldiers, from Hitler Youth activists to middle-class housewives. The Third Reich at War lays bare the dynamics of a nation more deeply immersed in war than any society before or since. Fresh insights into the conflict’s great events are here, from the invasion of Poland to the Battle of Stalingrad to Hitler’s suicide in the bunker. But just as important is the re-creation of the daily experience of ordinary Germans in wartime, staggering under pressure from Allied bombing and their own government’s mounting demands upon them. At the center of the book is the Nazi extermination of Europe’s Jews, set in the context of Hitler’s genocidal plans for the racial restructuring of Europe.

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6 .) Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 by Volker Ulrich

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Esquire

“For all the literature about Adolf Hitler there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds important new light on Hitler himself. Drawing on previously unseen papers and a wealth of recent scholarly research, Volker Ullrich reveals the man behind the public persona, from Hitler’s childhood to his failures as a young man in Vienna to his experiences during the First World War to his rise as a far-right party leader. Ullrich deftly captures Hitler’s intelligence, instinctive grasp of politics, and gift for oratory as well as his megalomania, deep insecurity, and repulsive worldview.

Many previous biographies have focused on the larger social conditions that explain the rise of the Third Reich. Ullrich gives us a comprehensive portrait of a postwar Germany humiliated by defeat, wracked by political crisis, and starved by an economic depression, but his real gift is to show vividly how Hitler used his ruthlessness and political talent to shape the Nazi party and lead it to power. For decades the world has tried to grasp how Hitler was possible. By focusing on the man at the center of it all, on how he experienced his world, formed his political beliefs, and wielded power, this riveting biography brings us closer than ever to the answer.”

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5 .) American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America by Chris Hedges

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Goodreads
  • Newsweek

“Twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists first spoke of the United States becoming a Christian nation that would build a global Christian empire, it was hard to take such hyperbolic rhetoric seriously. Today, such language no longer sounds like hyperbole but poses, instead, a very real threat to our freedom and our way of life. In American Fascists, Chris Hedges, veteran journalist and author of the National Book Award finalist War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, challenges the Christian Right’s religious legitimacy and argues that at its core it is a mass movement fueled by unbridled nationalism and a hatred for the open society.

Hedges, who grew up in rural parishes in upstate New York where his father was a Presbyterian pastor, attacks the movement as someone steeped in the Bible and Christian tradition. He points to the hundreds of senators and members of Congress who have earned between 80 and 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian Right advocacy groups as one of many signs that the movement is burrowing deep inside the American government to subvert it. The movement’s call to dismantle the wall between church and state and the intolerance it preaches against all who do not conform to its warped vision of a Christian America are pumped into tens of millions of American homes through Christian television and radio stations, as well as reinforced through the curriculum in Christian schools. The movement’s yearning for apocalyptic violence and its assault on dispassionate, intellectual inquiry are laying the foundation for a new, frightening America. “

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4 .) It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Goodreads
  • New Statesman

First published in 1935, when Americans were still largely oblivious to the rise of Hitler in Europe, this prescient novel tells a cautionary tale of the fragility of democracy and offers an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America.

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3 .) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Goodreads
  • Newsweek

“Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now….”

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2 .) 1984 by George Orwell

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Goodreads
  • New Statesman
  • Newsweek

“Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.”

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1 .) The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Lists It Appears On:

  • Esquire
  • Goodreads
  • Newsweek
  • The Chomsky List

The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.

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The 75+ Additional Best Books About Fascism



 

#BookAuthorLists
(Titles Appear On 1 List Each)
20Arrival and DepartureArthur Koestler
New Statesman
21AuschwitzLaurence Rees
Book Depository
22Behemoth: The Structure & Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944Franz Leopold NeumannGoodreads
23Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of IdentityNicholas Goodrick-ClarkeGoodreads
24BloodlandsTimothy Snyder
Book Depository
25Brave New World
New Statesman
26Cambodia’s CurseJoel Brinkley
Book Depository
27Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a YearCarlo LeviGoodreads
28Darkness at NoonArthur KoestlerNewsweek
29Days and Nights of Love and WarEduardo Galeano
The Chomsky List
30Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist InternationalKevin CooganGoodreads
31Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of EvilHannah ArendtGoodreads
32Fahrenheit 451Ray BradburyEsquire
33Falange: A History of Spanish FascismStanley G. PayneGoodreads
34FascismRoger GriffinGoodreads
35Fascism: A Very Short IntroductionKevin PassmoreGoodreads
36Fascism: One Hundred Questions Asked And AnsweredOswald MosleyGoodreads
37Fascism: What It Is and How to Fight ItLeon TrotskyGoodreads
38Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini’s ItalyChristopher DugganGoodreads
39General Reinhard Gehlen: The CIA ConnectionMary Ellen Reese
The Chomsky List
40GulagAnne Applebaum
Book Depository
41Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisJD VanceEsquire
42HitlerIan Kershaw
Book Depository
43Hitler: 1889-1936 HubrisIan KershawGoodreads
44Hitler’s Social Revolution: Class and Status in Nazi Germany, 1933-1939David Schoenbaum
The Chomsky List
45Homage to CataloniaGeorge OrwellGoodreads
46Inside the LeagueJon Lee Anderson
The Chomsky List
47Inside The Third ReichAlbert Speer
Book Depository
48Jennifer GovernmentMax BarryEsquire
49Klaus Barbie: The Fourth ReichMagnus Linklater
The Chomsky List
50Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of MeaningJonah GoldbergGoodreads
51Male Fantasies: Volume 1: Women, Floods, Bodies, HistoryKlaus TheweleitGoodreads
52Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and HitlerRoger GriffinGoodreads
53MunichRobert Harris
Book Depository
54Mussolini and Fascism: The View from AmericaJohn Patrick Diggins
The Chomsky List
55Mussolini’s Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945Richard J.B. BosworthGoodreads
56Nothing to EnvyBarbara Demick
Book Depository
57One Day in the Life of Ivan DenisovichAlexander SolzhenitsynNewsweek
58Revolt Against the Modern WorldJulius EvolaGoodreads
59Science, Technology, and Reparations: Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar GermanyJohn Gimbel
The Chomsky List
60Spirit and Structure of German FascismRobert A. Brady
The Chomsky List
61Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American RightArlie Russell HochschildEsquire
62Swastika Night
New Statesman
63Thank God They’re on Our Side: United States and Right-wing Dictatorships, 1921-65David F. Schmitz
The Chomsky List
64The ‘Hitler Myth’Ian Kershaw
Book Depository
65The Aerodrome: a Love StoryRex Warner
New Statesman
66The Apprentice’s Sorcerer: Liberal Tradition and FascismIshay LandaGoodreads
67The Aquariums of PyongyangKang Chol-Hwan
Book Depository
68The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939Antony BeevorGoodreads
69The Big LieDinesh D’Souza
Book Depository
70The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political RevolutionZeev SternhellGoodreads
71The Captive MindCzeslaw Milosz
Book Depository
72The Children of MenPD JamesEsquire
73The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three ContinentsJohn Dinges
The Chomsky List
74The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third ReichGeorge L. MosseGoodreads
75The Doctrine of FascismBenito MussoliniGoodreads
76The EndIan Kershaw
Book Depository
77The Future is HistoryMasha Gessen
Book Depository
78The GiftJames PattersonGoodreads
79The Iron HeelJack LondonEsquire
80The Man in the High CastlePhilip K. DickGoodreads
81The Manson File: Myth and Reality of an Outlaw ShamanNikolas SchreckGoodreads
82The Mass Psychology of FascismWilhelm ReichGoodreads
83The Nature of FascismRoger GriffinGoodreads
84The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1922-1945William Sheridan AllenGoodreads
85The Paperclip Conspiracy: The Hunt for the Nazi ScientistsTom Bower
The Chomsky List
86The Penultimate TruthPhilip K. DickEsquire
87The Peron NovelTomas Eloy Martinez
The Guardian
88The PillowmanMartin McDonagh
Book Depository
89The Politics of Military Rule in Brazil, 1964-1985Thomas E. Skidmore
The Chomsky List
90The Prime of Miss Jean BrodieMuriel SparkGoodreads
91The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi GermanyWilliam L. ShirerGoodreads
92The Rise of the Fourth ReichJim Marrs
Book Depository
93The RoadCormac McCarthyEsquire
94The Road to SerfdomF. a. Hayek
Book Depository
95The Seven MadmenRoberto Arlt
The Guardian
96The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short IntroductionHelen Graham
Book Depository
97The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law and Genocide in the Twentieth CenturyChristopher Simpson
The Chomsky List
98The Third ReichMichael Burleigh
Book Depository
99The Third Reich in PowerRichard J. EvansGoodreads
100The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940David F. Schmitz
The Chomsky List
101The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New AmericaGeorge PackerEsquire
102The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi EconomyAdam ToozeGoodreads
103The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism (Political Economy of Human Rights, 01)Noam Chomsky
The Chomsky List
104The WaveMorton RhueGoodreads
105Three Faces Of Fascism: Action Francaise, Italian Fascism, National SocialismErnst NolteGoodreads
106Towards a Society That Serves Its People: The Intellectual Contribution of El Salvador’s Murdered JesuitsHugh Lacey
The Chomsky List
107White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in AmericaNancy IsenbergEsquire
108World Revolutionary Elites: Studies in Coercive Ideological MovementsHarold Dwight Lasswell
The Chomsky List


8 Best Fascism Book Sources/Lists



SourceArticle
Book Depository Fascism & Nazism
Esquire 20 Essential Books to Prepare You for What’s Next
Foreign Affairs What to Read on Fascism
Goodreads Popular Fascism Books
New Statesman Fictions of fascism: what twentieth century dystopia can (and can’t) teach us about Trump
Newsweek NINE MUST-READ BOOKS IN THE AGE OF DONALD TRUMP
The Chomsky List Chomsky’s Recommended Fascism & Nazism Books List
The Guardian From fiction to fascism