The Beast Reawakens

Martin Lee, Author Little Brown and Company $24.45 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-51959-5
After the Berlin Wall came down, images of emancipated Germans were soon replaced by footage of neo-Nazi skinheads torching immigrant hostels while raising their arms in Hitlerian salute. It appeared that the beast of fascism, thought to have been dead for almost half a century, had come back to life. Through meticulous research and more than 100 interviews, Lee (Acid Dreams) reveals that the beast only catnapped after WWII. Starting with the failed assassination attempt on the Fuhrer in July 1944, Lee traces the splinter groups, fascist leaders and political movements that formed a complex network of ratlines and spy webs enabling expatriate Nazis to build fortunes and mold fledgling extremists. Lee skillfully forms his material into a coherent, often chilling account that opens with the tale of Otto Skorzeny, the ex-Nazi who became a major figure in Cold War espionage. The closing exploration of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and America's militia movement casts new light on seemingly overexposed topics and helps to illuminate the fascist agendas of shadowy organizations in the U.S. such as the Holocaust-denying Liberty Lobby. This compelling, intelligent investigation, which reads more like a thriller than a history lesson, contributes much toward understanding the politics of hatred. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/30/1997
Release date: 07/01/1997
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