George Mosse, who taught students of Nazism and racism so much about the origins of hate, died just as this book appeared. Only the first chapter addresses the general theory mentioned in the subtitle. Mosse restates well-known points about fascism, such as the importance of war, nationalism, and masculinity in fascist ideology, and his comparison between fascism and the Jacobin phase of the French Revolution is more intriguing than conclusive. But the subsequent chapters are more thought-provoking. Trying to present fascism as a cultural phenomenon, Mosse pays great attention to the role of intellectuals, the avant-garde, and the stage. He points out that Nazi aesthetics were remarkably concerned with respectability and "beauty without sensuality" in their representation of nude male bodies. A very provocative chapter on Nazism's occult origins in romantic mystical writings of the nineteenth century makes one regret that Mosse did not have the opportunity to go deeper into the fascinating topics so briefly covered in these pages.
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