Saturday, May 12, 2018

Fascism: A Warning, by Madeleine Albright (author, narrator)

HarperAudio, April 2018

Madeleine Albright was the first woman to be US Secretary of State, under Bill Clinton, appointed in 1997. A native of Czechoslovakia, born in 1937, her family had to flee the country for the UK to escape Hitler. Although they returned to Czechoslovakia after the war, ultimately they emigrated to the US in 1948.

What Albright didn't know until decades later was that her parents were Jewish converts to Roman Catholicism, making the need to escape even greater than she had known.

In a career as an academic, politician, and diplomat, she became an expert on troubled and troublesome leaders and regimes around the world. Now, she's written a clear warning about fascism, how it rose in the 20th century, and the new fascist regimes of the 21st century.

And of course, the dangerous signs in our own country.

This is not a partisan book. This isn't about Democrat vs. Republican, or liberal vs. conservative. It's about small-d democracy vs. fascism, a virulent nationalism, authoritarianism, an insistence on conformity. Some kinds of dictatorship want to disarm the population to keep them in line. Fascists often count on the eager support of an energized and armed population to suppress opposition. Underlying the whole structure is not an elite's fear of "the people," but an all too popular fear of The Other, when times are uncertain and change has come too quickly for some to absorb.

Albright is much more knowledgeable, has two decades more life experience, is a better writer, and has given this a lot more thought, leavened with practical experience, than I can. Read what she has to say on this, not what I have to say.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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