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L_Monty
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Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

First off, thanks to Historyismypassion, jhamel06 and bmy78 for expressing interest in reading this book. I believe I'll be able to rope in a few more people for discussion, so hopefully we'll have a few others to bounce comments off of. Regardless, right now it looks like we'll be able to have some good discussions. So, how do we go about that:

 

 

The Book:
First off, you can get the book here or by clicking on the book's icon in the Featured Titles section, above right. Or, obviously, visit your local library.

 

 

The Schedule:
By February 9:   p. 1-86
By February 16: p. 87-171
By February 23: p. 172-218

 

 

The Discussion:
In the week before our reading is "due," I'll put up a more general discussion question that occurs to me might be interesting for us to talk about. Feel free to do the same yourselves if you have a big idea you're sitting on. Otherwise, for just reactions or general thining-out-loud about the book, I will put up reaction threads on each due date: e.g., "Anatomy of Fascism, Part I, Feb 9 - Reax Thread," or something like that.

 

 

I think that should cover it, but if you have any questions, shoot 'em at me here.

 

And if that's that, go get the book and get cracking!  

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Everyman
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

A question, Monty.

 

The previous moderator of this thread had a policy that people could discuss the issues raised in discussions of books even if they hadn't actually read, and weren't planning to read, the books.  

 

Are you going to follow the same policy, or will you expect that people who participate in the discussion of the book should actually have read or be reading the book?

 

I will say that this arose when I had questioned a post made by a person on a book thread when the person said they had not and did not plan to read the book.   Personally, I thought that was inappropriate, but the previous moderator said that as long as the posts were relevant to the issues, there was no requirement that posters read the books.  So that's the way it has been.  

 

Just want to know whether as moderator you're going to continue or change that policy.  (Mind, I'm not suggesting that you take people who violate the practice to the woodshed, but if that's the way you prefer the book threads be run, simply letting it be known that posters to the specific book threads are expected to have read or be reading the book would probably be sufficient.  There are plenty of other, non-book-specific threads.)

 

Anyhow, before we get into the first "official" history book discussion with you as moderator, I just wanted to clarify your preferred policy.

 

Thanks. 

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L_Monty
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

Oooh, that's a good call. Thanks.

Just a quick response (which obviously might have to be modified due to future needs, but for now seems to cover everything amply):

1. If you have a question, post. One of the fun things about having read the book is explaining it to someone else. I'm sure readers would be happy to flex their knowledge a little. And if they aren't, they don't have to.

2. If you know the historiography of the topic and can contribute another historian's analysis of similar events to provide an analytical contrast to the book and broaden the discussion, please do.

3. If you feel you have strong familiarity with the topic, please contribute.

4. However, if at some point you're merely gainsaying someone's response to the text (especially to the degree that they have to basically explain the book to you just to talk about it), you may be asked to come back after taking a break to read the book. :smileyhappy:
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

Thanks.   My reading schedule doesn't allow me to read the book, though I may try to get
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

Thanks.   My reading schedule doesn't allow me to read the book, though I have requested it in interlibrary loan and will try at least to skim it.

 

But my first question is:  what exactly is his definition of fascism?  What criteria does he apply to determine whether a state is or is not fascist?

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

For what it is worth, this is an interesting video with a simple explanation of the forms of government.

 

http://www.flixxy.com/political-systems.htm

 

twj

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L_Monty
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote:

 But my first question is:  what exactly is his definition of fascism?  What criteria does he apply to determine whether a state is or is not fascist?



Well, I can't really answer that because that's the point of the entire book, and I've been waiting to read it with other people. Since, as the title says, it's an "anatomy," I imagine the definition is more substantive than a quick sentence or two, probably because it seems to be Paxton's aim to avoid the quick-definition glosses that so frequently attend ideologically driven definitions of fascism. For example...


thewanderingjew wrote:

For what it is worth, this is an interesting video with a simple explanation of the forms of government.

 

http://www.flixxy.com/political-systems.htm

 

twj



...this video comes close to meeting that. Although you can't say one way or the other, because the video is uncredited, the idealized definitions, blanked comment that all absolutist governments are inherently "leftist" show both a simplified but also a politically charged way of looking at the issues. They're also scaling power along a left-right power axis that seems to also account for economic interference, but it doesn't chart social interference. A much better explanation of government conditions would be bi-axial at least, and it's hard to see charting things along one axis as not being politically motivated. I think it's these kinds of definitions Paxton's trying to avoid, so I think it's probably best to come back to these later and see if they can still be applied, rather than using them going forward.
Message Edited by L_Monty on 01-22-2009 12:34 PM
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

LMonty wrote:  Well, I can't really answer that because that's the point of the entire book, and I've been waiting to read it with other people.

 

I can wait.  But I figured I would give you a golden chance to, as you said earlier,  flex your knowledge a little and enjoy explaining the book.  

 

 

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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

 

I was at my library yesterday and looked up this title, just to see if it was in.  I was able to borrow it and, reading through the intro this morning, I chuckled to find that, in the very opening pages, Paxton not only mentions Toqueville, he also directly quotes from Democracy in America.  So, Monty, I guess you intend to force us to read our Toqueville, after all.

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Choisya
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

Under Item 2 folks may be interested in the second item in this BBC R4 broadcast today where LAT columnist Jonah Goldberg argues for a re-evaluation of fascism and the way the word is used.   

 

 

 

 


L_Monty wrote:
Oooh, that's a good call. Thanks.

Just a quick response (which obviously might have to be modified due to future needs, but for now seems to cover everything amply):

1. If you have a question, post. One of the fun things about having read the book is explaining it to someone else. I'm sure readers would be happy to flex their knowledge a little. And if they aren't, they don't have to.

2. If you know the historiography of the topic and can contribute another historian's analysis of similar events to provide an analytical contrast to the book and broaden the discussion, please do.

3. If you feel you have strong familiarity with the topic, please contribute.

4. However, if at some point you're merely gainsaying someone's response to the text (especially to the degree that they have to basically explain the book to you just to talk about it), you may be asked to come back after taking a break to read the book. :smileyhappy:

 

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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

Just got the book from the library today, and it's a very short term interlibrary loan, but I hope to have time at least to skim it. 
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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

Won't be able to read this month's selection. But I do look forward to seeing what you guys pick out for March. I've been looking to get into a really good history reading group for a while where I can share my thoughts on common subjects.

 

-Ernie

 

BTW, I have been interested in reading Democracy in America for a while myself, but have never actually gotten around to it.

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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)

Hello L_Monty

 

I am brand new to the Barnes and Noble book clubs.  I saw this History club and thought it would be of great interest since I like books about history; particularly American history.  I see that you have already started on "The Anatomy of Fascism" and was wondering when the next read would start; I figured I would jump in at that time rather than trying to catch up at this late stage.

 

Just as an aside, if other people are interested in History, which is why they would join this club, I recommend the new "A. Lincoln" book by Ron White, Jr.  It is very good and does not get bogged down with too many discussions about the civil war battles during Lincoln's presidency; rather, it focuses on Lincoln's struggles through his early years to get into politics and his struggles with his own cabinet and party members over various issues.  Anyone interested in his presidency and the legacy it may lead would be greatly entertained and informed by reading this book.  Defintely a keeper.

 

Thanks for your time and I look forward to jumping into the History book club with the next book that comes up.

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Re: Featured Read, February: 'The Anatomy of Fascism' (Syllabus)


BigRonOfSlowerLower wrote:
Hello L_Monty

 

 

I am brand new to the Barnes and Noble book clubs.  I saw this History club and thought it would be of great interest since I like books about history; particularly American history.  I see that you have already started on "The Anatomy of Fascism" and was wondering when the next read would start; I figured I would jump in at that time rather than trying to catch up at this late stage.



Hi, Ron, welcome to the boards. The next read will be in March. Ideally you should start on the reading at the beginning of the month, and we'll kick off official discussion by around the 7th. I try to start a focused discussion topic on what we're covering, but what interests me obviously doesn't interest everyone, so people are welcome to start topics about elements of the book that interested them. Unfortunately for this month, I think only RTA, E-Man and I have a copy, and RTA and I seem to just agree outright, so we haven't had much in the way of historiographical headbutting. That said, there's still ten days of discussion to go, and the book is short enough that I have every confidence you could knock it out in one weekend afternoon if you ran across a copy and wanted to hop in. Since we haven't had as many readers as in the past, I tried to pick something quick enough that everyone could get into it.

As for next month's book, I'm about to bump the thread on that back up to the top to catch some eyes. We still have a few more days of nominating, for whomever wants to jump in.