100 books like The Roman Salute

By Martin M. Winkler,

Here are 100 books that The Roman Salute fans have personally recommended if you like The Roman Salute. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present

Matthew Dallek Author Of Birchers: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right

From my list on the far-right and its influence in US politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and a professor of political management at George Washington University, and I became interested in the John Birch Society when I encountered the group while writing my first book, on Ronald Reagan's 1966 California governor's campaign. I'm also fascinated by debates about political extremism in modern America including such questions as: how does the culture define extremism in a given moment? How does the meaning of extremism shift over time? And how do extremists sometimes become mainstream within the context of American politics? These were some of the puzzles that motivated me to write Birchers

Matthew's book list on the far-right and its influence in US politics

Matthew Dallek Why did Matthew love this book?

Ben-Ghiat limns the traits that characterize authoritarians in modern times.

Drawing a line from Mussolini to Trump, the author guides readers in the authoritarian’s playbook, revealing how dictators corrode democratic norms and undermine institutional restraints on their power. This lucid, well-written history makes you think about dictatorship across time, cultures, and nations.

By Ruth Ben-Ghiat,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Strongmen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the expert on the "strongman" playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin-enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America and Europe. In Strongmen, she lays bare the blueprint these leaders have followed over the past 100 years, and empowers us to recognize, resist, and prevent their disastrous rule in the future.

For ours is the age of authoritarian rulers: self-proclaimed saviors of the nation who evade accountability while robbing their people of truth, treasure, and the protections of democracy. They promise law and order, then legitimize lawbreaking by financial, sexual, and…


Book cover of Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini's Italy

Joseph Fronczak Author Of Everything Is Possible: Antifascism and the Left in the Age of Fascism

From my list on the worst sort of politics: fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who wrote a book on antifascism. In a way, I decided to write a book on the history of antifascism because I thought it was a good way to make sense of the history of fascism. Something along the lines of: Nobody knows you like your worst enemies. But I also thought that more books on the history of antifascism itself would be a good thing. There are many books on fascism and relatively few on anti-fascism. Ultimately, I decided to write Everything Is Possible because I thought that the first antifascists had useful lessons to share about how to turn the world toward something better than the one you’ve been given.

Joseph's book list on the worst sort of politics: fascism

Joseph Fronczak Why did Joseph love this book?

This is a dazzling mix of theory, sociology, and history. Falasca-Zamponi is attentive to the myths, rituals, festivals and ceremonies, symbols, and recurring images of Italian fascism—and she is attentive, too, to the political power that Mussolini relentlessly drew from such cultural forms.

With tremendous analytical imagination, Falasca-Zamponi unpacks the significance of the fascist salute, Mussolini’s balcony poses, all the axe-and-bundle imagery, those omnipresent black shirts, and the fascists’ distinctive “passo romano” marching style. For me, the heart of the book is its intense analysis of fascist violence as spectacle. Not just spectacle, though. Falasca-Zamponi also makes the case that for the early fascists violence—“great, beautiful, inexorable violence,” in Mussolini’s words—was sublime, regenerative, glorious, salvific.

The early fascists made violence, Falasca-Zamponi suggests, as if it were art. 

By Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fascist Spectacle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A cultural history of Italian fascism, this work traces the narrative path that accompanied the making of a regime and the construction of Mussolini's power. The author reads fascist myths, rituals, images, and speeches as texts that tell the story of fascism. Linking Mussolini's elaboration of a new ruling style to the shaping of the regime's identity, she finds that in searching for symbolic means and forms that would represent its political novelty, fascism in fact brought itself into being, creating its own power and history. Falasca-Zamponi aregues that an aesthetically founded notion of politics guided fascist power's historical unfounding…


Book cover of The Fascist Revolution in Italy: A Brief History with Documents

T. Corey Brennan Author Of The Fasces: A History of Ancient Rome's Most Dangerous Political Symbol

From my list on fascist propaganda.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of Classics at Rutgers University, where I’ve taught since 2000; before that, I spent a decade on the faculty of Bryn Mawr College. For three years I served on the staff of the American Academy in Rome, a somewhat frenetic experience that prompted me to shift my focus from ancient Roman history to the history of the city of Rome. Since 2010 I’ve been managing a private family archive in Rome, that of the papal Boncompagni Ludovisi, which covers the period from the early 1400s to the 1940s. Now completely digitized, the archive has much new material to offer, not least on the era of Mussolini, including resistance to his regime.

T.'s book list on fascist propaganda

T. Corey Brennan Why did T. love this book?

In her decades of work on Italy’s Fascist era, Marla Stone has shown an especially keen eye for the development of the regime’s policies and ideologies, whether in the sphere of art and culture, or that of political violence and imperialist aggression. Here Stone offers a succinct and penetrating overview of the origins, rise, consolidation, and eventual crash of Fascism in Italy, followed by a translation of some three dozen primary documents—about a third of which were otherwise unavailable in English—to illustrate her narrative. Particularly chilling are the propaganda texts from 1938 on, when Mussolini’s grandiose claims to the legacy of ancient Rome took a back seat to full-blown racial politics, “as Italians were declared ‘Aryans’ and biological anti-Semitism became part of official ideology.”

By Marla Stone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fascist Revolution in Italy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the first mass movement of the radical right to assume power in the wake of World War I, Italian Fascism became the model and inspiration for violent anti-democratic and anti-socialist forces that swept Europe between 1919 and 1945. In this volume Marla S. Stone provides an essential introduction to the rise and fall of Benito Mussolini's Fascist dictatorship. Drawing on the most recent historical scholarship, Stone explores the multifaceted nature of Fascist rule, which drew strength not only from its terror apparatus but also from popular support for its social programs. More than 35 primary sources, including speeches, decrees,…


Book cover of She-Wolf: The Story of a Roman Icon

T. Corey Brennan Author Of The Fasces: A History of Ancient Rome's Most Dangerous Political Symbol

From my list on fascist propaganda.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of Classics at Rutgers University, where I’ve taught since 2000; before that, I spent a decade on the faculty of Bryn Mawr College. For three years I served on the staff of the American Academy in Rome, a somewhat frenetic experience that prompted me to shift my focus from ancient Roman history to the history of the city of Rome. Since 2010 I’ve been managing a private family archive in Rome, that of the papal Boncompagni Ludovisi, which covers the period from the early 1400s to the 1940s. Now completely digitized, the archive has much new material to offer, not least on the era of Mussolini, including resistance to his regime.

T.'s book list on fascist propaganda

T. Corey Brennan Why did T. love this book?

When Rome started minting coins for export markets in the third century BCE, one of the first emblems it chose was the she-wolf that, according to legend, suckled the twin infants Romulus and Remus on the site of the city not yet founded. In Italy, almost every generation since then has embraced the animal—as the author explains, “a beast that was Roman and mother, ancient and wild, fearsome and protective”—to communicate pretty much whatever message it wanted. Cristina Mazzoni amply illustrates the indeterminacy of the symbol, which Mussolini leveraged in his propaganda to elicit feelings of both patriotic pride and terror, but still found difficult to control. Case in point: just fifteen years after Mussolini’s death, the wolf with twins became the symbol of the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics.

By Cristina Mazzoni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She-Wolf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since antiquity, the she-wolf has served as the potent symbol of Rome. For more than two thousand years, the legendary animal that rescued Romulus and Remus has been the subject of historical and political accounts, literary treatments in poetry and prose, and visual representations in every medium. In She-Wolf: The Story of a Roman Icon, Cristina Mazzoni examines the evolution of the she-wolf as a symbol in western history, art, and literature, from antiquity to contemporary times. Used, for example, as an icon of Roman imperial power, papal authority, and the distance between the present and the past, the she-wolf…


Book cover of Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism

Maxwell L. Stearns Author Of Parliamentary America: The Least Radical Means of Radically Repairing Our Broken Democracy

From my list on books for everyone concerned about the state of U.S. democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an unusual law professor. I’ve taught constitutional law and economic analysis of law in a career spanning over three decades at two very different law schools. Most scholars view these fields as disconnected. My work, including several books and dozens of articles, demonstrates otherwise. This combined expertise helped me understand why our longstanding constitutional democracy is facing an existential crisis, why popular reform proposals won’t work, and what we must do to succeed. I wrote Parliamentary America for citizens seeking genuine solutions. My five-book list includes brilliant works cutting across myriad divides and embracing wide-ranging methodologies to ensure all citizens appreciate the importance of producing a truly thriving democracy.

Maxwell's book list on books for everyone concerned about the state of U.S. democracy

Maxwell L. Stearns Why did Maxwell love this book?

I hope readers internalize this book's message: grappling with past threats to our democracy is vital in facing down future threats carrying a greater likelihood of success. 

Maddow’s impressively researched book recounts the period of U.S. history corresponding to the rise of Nazism in Germany and the spread of European fascism. Her laudable goal is ensuring more citizens know the story of leading American figures—captains of industry, Congressmen, and Governors—sympathetic to Nazism and willing to undermine vital democratic norms, embrace anti-Semitism, and engage in coordinated violence to bring fascism to the U.S., and of those unsung heroes who refused to let them succeed.

Maddow rightly views education as vital to ensuring that past isn’t prologue.

By Rachel Maddow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prequel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Rachel Maddow traces the fight to preserve American democracy back to World War II, when a handful of committed public servants and brave private citizens thwarted far-right plotters trying to steer our nation toward an alliance with the Nazis.
 
“A ripping read—well rendered, fast-paced and delivered with the same punch and assurance that she brings to a broadcast. . . . The parallels to the present day are strong, even startling.”—The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)

Inspired by her research for the hit podcast Ultra, Rachel Maddow charts the rise of a wild American…


Book cover of Aspirational Fascism: The Struggle for Multifaceted Democracy under Trumpism

Patricia Ventura Author Of White Power and American Neoliberal Culture

From my list on today’s fascism and resisting it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been trying to understand people’s politics since I was a kid and wondered why my dad, who had been a boy in Sicily under Mussolini, spoke so fondly of “il Duce”—even though Dad was an otherwise independent thinker who believed in people’s inherent dignity, not to mention a man who was an immigrant and an outsider and thus exactly the kind of person fascists hate. I think this background partially explains why I focus my writing on interpreting the significance and appeal of widespread and, in some cases, morally indefensible and contradictory cultural-political ideologies such as neoliberalism and racism.

Patricia's book list on today’s fascism and resisting it

Patricia Ventura Why did Patricia love this book?

I started reading books about today’s fascism when I noticed the label being used repeatedly in the wake of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The first book I read was this one.

This very brief study compares the old-guard fascist leaders to Trump by considering elements like rhetorical style, ideas about gender and race, and what we can think of as Trump's way of being in the world. Connolly, a political philosopher, uses the classic studies of Nazism to speculate on the group psychology of today’s followers of authoritarians and analyze people’s attachment to them.

He understands that fascism results from capitalism’s inherent cruelties and will not be easily discarded or simply voted out. He argues, instead, that we must support pluralism and democracy as a starting point. 

By William E. Connolly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aspirational Fascism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Coming to terms with a new period of uncertainty when it is still replete with possibilities

This quick and engaging study clearly lays out the United States' current democratic crisis. Examining the early stages of the Nazi movement in Germany, William E. Connolly detects synergies with Donald Trump's rhetorical style. Tapping into a sense of contemporary fragility, Aspirational Fascism pays particular attention to how conflicts between neoliberalism and the pluralizing left have placed the white working class in a bind. Ultimately, Connolly believes a multifaceted democracy constitutes the best antidote to aspirational fascism and rethinks what a politics of the…


Book cover of The Wave

Esther K. Bowen Author Of Mind Games

From my list on government oppression and courageous resistance.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I read stories of courageous women and men who risked their lives for their faith, for their freedom, or for the freedom of others. Many of these stories were dark and brutal. History taught me that governments are capable of atrocities that defy understanding. Fiction stories led me to envision dark futures. But I do not enjoy stories that discourage or depress. Instead, I believe stories should display hope, faithfulness, and sacrifice. I admire the heroes of our history and I seek fiction that speaks these same truths. We need stories that inspire us to stand up, to speak out against injustice, no matter the consequences.

Esther's book list on government oppression and courageous resistance

Esther K. Bowen Why did Esther love this book?

What leads people to join a movement? What causes a group to sacrifice freedom for power, victory, and equality? How does oppression begin?

When Ben is unable to answer a student’s question, “Why did the German people not stop the Nazis?” he devises an experiment. Would American students surrender their individuality and follow his leadership blindly? What follows quickly spirals out of control. The students and their teacher are forced to confront how a movement transforms those who become caught in its current. And some students are forced to learn the cost of daring to speak against the majority.

By Todd Strasser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

When Ben shows his pupils a film about the Nazis' persecution of the Jews, they can't believe it could happen. So he introduces a new disciplinary system in an attempt to shown them how powerful group pressure can be. But things get out of hand.


Book cover of The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader

Richard Wolin Author Of Heidegger in Ruins: Between Philosophy and Ideology

From my list on intellectuals and fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a graduate student during the late 1970s, my mentor, Martin Jay, generously introduced me to two members of the Frankfurt School: Herbert Marcuse and Leo Lowenthal. These memorable personal encounters inspired me to write a dissertation on Walter Benjamin, who was closely allied with the Frankfurt School. The completed dissertation, Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption, became the first book on Benjamin in English and is still in print. The Frankfurt School thinkers published a series of pioneering socio-psychological treatises on political authoritarianism: The Authoritarian Personality, Prophets of Deceit, and One-Dimensional Man. These studies continue to provide an indispensable conceptual framework for understanding the contemporary reemergence of fascist political forms.

Richard's book list on intellectuals and fascism

Richard Wolin Why did Richard love this book?

The ever-contentious debate about Heidegger’s filiations with Nazism was re-enlivened with the appearance of the so-called “Black Notebooks” in 2014.

However, unless one closely heeds the existential verbiage of Heidegger’s commitment to Nazism, one risks tilting at windmills; hence, succumbing to a plethora of misconceptions and misunderstandings.

This invaluable collection of original texts – which, in addition to Heidegger political speeches of 1933-34, contains the indispensable Der Spiegel interview, “Only a God Can Save Us!” – has taken on an entirely new meaning and importance in light of the “Black Notebooks’” publication. 

By Richard Wolin (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heidegger Controversy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This anthology is a significant contribution to the debate over the relevance of Martin Heidegger's Nazi ties to the interpretation and evaluation of his philosophical work. Included are a selection of basic documents by Heidegger, essays and letters by Heidegger's colleagues that offer contemporary context and testimony, and interpretive evaluations by Heidegger's heirs and critics in France and Germany.In his new introduction, "Note on a Missing Text," Richard Wolin uses the absence from this edition of an interview with Jacques Derrida as a springboard for examining questions about the nature of authorship and personal responsibility that are at the heart…


Book cover of On Hitler's Mountain: My Nazi Childhood

Stephanie Vanderslice Author Of The Lost Son

From my list on stories of World War II you’ve never heard before.

Why am I passionate about this?

In writing The Lost Son, which is loosely based on family history, I immersed myself in the history of World War II and in the world between the wars. It was important to me to understand this period from both sides—from the perspective of Germans who were either forced to flee their homeland or witness its destruction from within by a madman, and from the perspective of Americans with German ties who also fought fascism. The stories of ordinary people during this time are far more nuanced than the epic battles that World War II depicted, as the stories of ordinary people often are. 

Stephanie's book list on stories of World War II you’ve never heard before

Stephanie Vanderslice Why did Stephanie love this book?

Born in 1934 in Berchtesgaden, in the shadow of Hitler’s Eagles Nest, Irmgard Hunt witnessed the growth of fascist ideology among the people she loved during an otherwise idyllic childhood. As the shadow of World War II fell over the mountain, however, Hunt began to question and then disavow the Nazi doctrines she had accepted as a young child. As time went on and the regime crumbled literally before her eyes, she was vocal in confronting her country’s criminal past and in championing the democratic principles her elders had so easily dismissed.

By Irmgard Hunt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Hitler's Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Irmgard Hunt was born into Nazi Germany in 1934 and brought up in the Bavarian village of Berchtesgaden, just outside the fence that surrounded Hitler's alpine retreat and headquarters. On Hitler's Mountain is her account of a childhood under the Third Reich as the daughter of low-level Party members. As a model Aryan toddler, she was photographed sitting on Hitler's knee, and attended school with the children of Albert Speer and Fritz Sauckel. Like many ordinary Germans her parents considered themselves to be moral and honourable: her father was a porcelain artist (at the workshop that provided Hitler with his…


Book cover of The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town, 1922-1945

Jay Geller Author Of The Scholems: A Story of the German-Jewish Bourgeoisie from Emancipation to Destruction

From my list on Nazi German and the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jay Geller is a professor of history and Judaic studies and has published five books on the experience of the Jews in twentieth-century Germany. He has worked with secondary school teachers, religious communities, and museums to develop programs on the Holocaust, Nazism, and dangers of intolerance and radicalism. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale University.

Jay's book list on Nazi German and the Holocaust

Jay Geller Why did Jay love this book?

It is important for Americans to understand why millions of Germans who were not violent antisemites and racists voted for the Nazis. Looking at the case of a typical German town, Allen shows that economics, culture wars, and fear for the future motivated middle-class Germans to vote for an extremist party – not because of its racism, but despite its racism.

By William Sheridan Allen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nazi Seizure of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BE SURE YOU ARE BUYING THE CORRECT BOOK. THE ISBN FOR THE NEWEST PAPERBACK EDITION OF THE NAZI SEIZURE OF POWER IS 978-1626548725. IT IS PUBLISHED BY ECHO POINT BOOKS & MEDIA.

William Sheridan Allen's research provides an intimate, comprehensive study of the mechanics of revolution and an analysis of the Nazi Party's subversion of democracy. Beginning at the end of the Weimar Republic, Allen examines the entire period of the Nazi Revolution within a single locality.

Tackling one of the 20th century's greatest dilemmas, Allen demonstrates how this dictatorship subtly surmounted democracy and how the Nazi seizure of power…


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Interested in fascism, classical antiquity, and propaganda?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about fascism, classical antiquity, and propaganda.

Fascism 71 books
Propaganda 19 books