Bruce KuklickFeb 8, 2023
Fascism Comes to America
A Century of Obsession in Politics and Culture
University of Chicago Press 2022
From the time Mussolini took power in Italy in 1922, Americans have been obsessed with and brooded over the meaning of fascism and how it might migrate to the United States. Fascism Comes to America: A Century of Obsession in Politics and Culture (U Chicago Press, 2022) examines how we have viewed fascism overseas and its implications for our own country. Bruce Kuklick explores the rhetoric of politicians, who have used the language of fascism to smear opponents, and he looks at the discussions of pundits, the analyses of academics, and the displays of fascism in popular culture, including fiction, radio, TV, theater, and film. Kuklick argues that fascism has little informational meaning in the United States, but instead, it is used to denigrate or insult. For example, every political position has been besmirched as fascist. As a result, the term does not describe a phenomenon so much as it denounces what one does not like. Finally, in displaying fascism for most Americans, entertainment--and most importantly film--has been crucial in conveying to citizens what fascism is about. Fascism Comes to America has been enhanced by many illustrations that exhibit how fascism was absorbed into the US public consciousness.
Bruce Kuklick is the Nichols Professor of American History, Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is most recently the author of Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba written with Emmanuel Gerard, and The Fighting Sullivans.
Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly.