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Academic Questions

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 227–230 | Cite as

Blind Fools

From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship, by Paul Hollander. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016, 338 pp., $99.99 hardbound, $29.95 paperback.
  • John Earl Haynes
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Paul Hollander’s From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship is a very welcome book. For any writer looking for a stupid, silly, grotesque, or disgusting quote by an unfavorite intellectual or commentator regarding one of the twentieth century’s oppressive and violent dictatorships, this is the first book to check.

Fascism? Herbert Croly, editor of the New Republic and one of the intellectual founders of twentieth-century American progressivism, gushed over Italian fascism, noting the “elan of Italian nationalism which…would enable Italians to master themselves through a renewal of moral vision.” It was “‘a political experiment which aroused in a whole nation an increased moral energy and dignified its activities by subordinating them to a deeply felt common purpose.’”

Hitler? Arnold Toynbee, the influential popular historian, interviewed Hitler in 1936 and reported himself “convinced of his sincerity in desiring peace in Europe.” As for...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Earl Haynes
    • 1
  1. 1.Santa FeUSA

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