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American Fascists: The Christian right and the war on America [Paperback]

Chris Hedges
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Feb 2007
They disseminate their ideas on the alternative broadcast networks and through their own publishers and schools. Their intellectual leaders demand the complete dismantling of the secular state; their followers have been roused to a fever pitch of resentment and despair. Describing themselves as true patriots, they wrap themselves in the flag - but all it might take, writes veteran journalist (and Harvard Divinity School graduate) Chris Hedges, is one more national crisis of the order of September 11 for the Christian Right to seize power and reveal themselves for what they really are - the American heirs to Fascism. With a step-by-step breakdown of how they started and where they are, Chris Hedges, conducts brilliant on-the-ground reporting and produces a deeply compelling work of cultural and political anthropology and an impassioned, no-holds-barred polemic. "American Fascists" is sure to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (1 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224078208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224078207
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,037,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'full to the brim with quite exceptional reportage'
-- Rod Liddle, Sunday Times

`packed with descriptions to give a liberal sleepless nights' -- Scotland on Sunday, rev'd by David Stenhouse

About the Author

Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for the New York Times and other newspapers and is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and Losing Moses on the Freeway. A senior fellow at the National Institute, he also teaches in the Program for American Studies at Princeton University. He lives in Stockton, New Jersey.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By spam
This book is incredible. Hedges eloquently constructs his arguments using the words of the preachers themselves, to draw a chilling comparison between the Christian Right and the fledgling fascist movements of 1920s and 1930s Europe.

Unlike many books about fundamentalist Christians, American Fascists is not an attack on religion itself, and doesn't seek to mock or condescend - indeed, the author lays out his own faith from the start. It is, however, a stark warning about the ongoing misuse of religion by powerful fundamentalists, and how we can ALL be taken in.

If you believe in God or if you are an atheist, read this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
In this hard-hitting book, Chris Hedges attacks head-on the Christian Right and their ideology, dominionism, which calls for the church to take political and institutional power and install a theocracy in the US.
The movement has very wealthy backers for two main reasons, politically, the assault on democracy and economically, the promotion of unfettered capitalism.

Assault on democracy
The Christian Right calls for the destruction of an open and pluralist society with its civil-rights laws, trade unions and public schools teaching secular humanism.
Education and welfare should be handed over to the churches. `Tithes' should be paid by the population.
The movement is anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-liberal, anti-immigrants, anti-Hindu, anti-Muslim and for severe sexual repression.
Chris Hedges accuses one of its members as being the mastermind of vote counts manipulation in recent elections.

Unfettered capitalism (the gospel of prosperity)
Unfettered capitalism allows the exploitation of human workers by paying less than living wages, thereby generating billions of dollars of profits for the corporatocracy.

Political influence
The Christian Right controls a big part of the Republican Party. Its organizations received billions of dollars under the Bush II administrations.
It has representatives in the Supreme Court, in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
It can spread its message through its own TV channels, radio stations and newspapers.

Social influence
The Christian Right tries to create a political mass movement with people, who are, in fact, victims of this unfettered capitalism (see also, T. Frank: What's the Matter with Kansas.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting look at politics and religion 15 April 2008
All in all, this book will especially appeal to three groups of reader: atheists who are in agreement with Dawkins that religion is dangerous, especially when it cross pollinates with politics. Secondly, this will appeal to "liberal" Christians, and finally, to those who are researching the relationship between politics and religion. A useful companion to this book is "Sacred Causes" by Michael Burleigh, which also explores the similarities between religion and political cults.

Hedges argues that certain aspects of the Christian Right movement in America shares psychological and tactical characteristics with fascism. For example, he argues that the Christian right claim that society is morally decaying is an echo of the Nazi claims about "decadent" art forms. He particularly focuses on the cult of masculinity, which he say appeals to a modern generation of men, who find post-modern gender role confusion frustrating, and seek to assert tradition as a means of coping.

The book is not without its weaknesses. Firstly, Hedges uses a very small sample group, namely, small and medium sized churches he visits during his research, and then bases conclusions of national significance on what he hears. Also, his claims that all members of the Christian right are Himmlers in waiting is rather uncharitable, and Hedges' writing style at times betrays a paranoia he accuses his opponents of exhibiting. Nevertheless, I found this book a very interesting read, and as an evangelical Christian on the political "right", still found myself absorbed in many of his ideas, although I respectfully disagree with some of them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A timely warning, if overstated. 2 Sep 2011
By Helot
Does Chris Hedges ever examine his own beliefs as critically and thoroughly as he has demolished those of the so-called Christian Right in the USA? It seems from this book that he is afraid to take the final step into the great unknown of atheism, which a man of his intelligence and sense should be able to do. Join us! It's nice here!

He is as woolly as Rowan Williams or Prince Charles. For example, in the first chapter, "Faith", he clearly sets out the vast inconsistencies and repellent hatreds in the Bible which utterly undermine any claim to inerrancy (unless God forgot to employ an editor). But then he states that "We are saved, in the end, by faith - faith that life is not meaningless and random... acts of compassion... sustain the divine spark, which is love." Do those words have any meaning? If his faith is not in a supernatural entity, then why pretend to be a Christian at all? If it is in God, then why not say so?

Anyway, most of this is compelling stuff, full of the first-hand details which bring an immediacy to his accounts of the paranoia, arrogance and sheer lunacy which characterise the dominionists who seek to turn the U.S.A. into a theocracy like Iran. He vividly shows the closeness of these fundamentalists' beliefs and practices to those of earlier fascists by starting the book with Umberto Eco's list of fascists' typical features and then going on to let them hang themselves with their own words.

My lengthy personal experience of similar churches in the UK bears out the truth of his descriptions. And any time of the day we can look at the religious TV channels even here in the UK and see the lies, the fake promises of miracles, the appeals to the emotions which these already-rich evangelists use to enrich themselves even further.

The book includes an extensive bibliography and references to ensure accuracy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars dang scary
america seems to have its own logic system an this is a very scary look at right wing christian who have there own hate filled view of the word,from tawdy preachers with tv scams... Read more
Published 4 months ago by m. dosa
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book everyone who values freedom should read.
Democracy is something you either participate in, value and defend, or you will find one day that you don't have it anymore. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Johnny B
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid.
I am reading this book because I thought it might be useful for an essay I am writing about American Christian Fundamentalism. Well, first things first. Read more
Published 12 months ago by T. S. C.
4.0 out of 5 stars American Fascists.
An interesting analysis of the mutual interests of the religious right,big business and right wing politics in the US. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful study of one variety of fascism in the USA
As Umberto Eco writes in his introduction, within fundamentalism, "there can be no advancement of learning. Truth has already been spelt out once and for all ... Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2011 by William Podmore
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but perhaps a bit overheated?
The immediate lesson to be taken from this book is very valuable. It's a quote from US theologian Reinhold Niebuhr - religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for... Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2011 by Teemacs
4.0 out of 5 stars Not too Shabby
The book wasn't the most awe inspiring, but at least the author wasn't incompetent like so many I've come across

Pick it up if you want to see where Christians are going... Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2009 by Peyman Askari
4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful attack against the Christian Right but at times repetitive...
I read this book after thoroughly enjoying Chris Hedges' `Why I Don't Believe In Atheists`. However, I didn't find `American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America'... Read more
Published on 22 May 2009 by E. Mundy
4.0 out of 5 stars A fusilade against shearing Christian sheep
We might assume that the right-wing Christian nationalist dream is waning in America, but Chris Hedges does not. Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2007 by Brian Griffith
4.0 out of 5 stars A passionate appeal for freedom in America
We might assume that the right-wing Christian nationalist dream is waning in America, but Chris Hedges does not. Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2007 by Brian Griffith
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