The Voice of Modern Hatred

Nicholas Fraser, Author, Fraser Nicholas, Author
Nicholas Fraser, Author, Fraser Nicholas, Author Overlook Press $35 (304p) ISBN 978-1-58567-107-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-58567-332-2
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Veteran journalist Fraser takes a behind-the-headlines approach to examine the faces of political extremism in contemporary Europe. Bent on understanding ""the relationship between the old forms of hatred and the new,"" he offers no easy answers to the scourge. Fraser explores the more overt features of the phenomenon, including a thought-provoking chapter on an Arab immigrant responsible for a bombing at a French Jewish school who was killed by police in 1995, but what distinguishes this work is Fraser's focus on ""semi-respectable fascists""-- they may be dressed like everyone else, and yet they are capable of atrocities. He deftly profiles known quantities like David Irving, the British historian (a word some would put in quotation marks) who denies the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz. And in Germany, Fraser attended a murder trial of what the prosecution called the ""new type"" of extremist--anonymous, acting independently, and embodying a ""combination of reclusiveness and fanaticism"" in whose mind ""every man could be a F hrer."" In another scene, some neo-Nazi youths demonstrate for Fraser a board game called Pogrom; modeled on Monopoly, its aim is to rid Germany of Jews. Readers may disagree with Fraser's conviction that ""we would never again see... a real fascist government... doing its worst,"" openly spouting hatred. But it's difficult to disagree with his troubling conclusion that any future European fascist leader will not wear ""brown trousers and a toothbrush moustache"" but, like Austria's telegenic, xenophobic party leader J rg Haider (who is profiled here), will be ""well-spoken and fashionably-dressed"" and ""skilled in the arts of euphemism."" Agent, Kris Dahl, ICM (Feb.) Forecast: Focused on Europe, Fraser's book will seem less than urgent to many American readers; still, it should find a ready audience among readers concerned about the persistence of racism and hate.
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