This section includes book notes of 150-300 words as well as some book reviews of 600-900 words on books of particular interest to the members of our group. If you have either suggestions for books you would like to review or see reviewed (including recent books of your own), please contact Cas Mudde.
Book Notes Uwe Backes (ed.), Rechtsextreme Ideologien in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Cologne, etc.: Böhlau Verlag, 2003, 400 pp., EUR 39.90, ISBN 3-412-03703-6 (hbk). Reviewed by Geoff Eley (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) These dozen essays assemble perspectives entirely consistent with the earlier activity of the Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Research in Dresden, whose output since 1995 remains both impressively prolific and increasingly predictable. The most useful contributions are those offering contemporary analytical reportage, like Rainer Erb’s on the outlook of German “Neonazis” and “Skinheads,” Mischa Gabowitsch’s on current Russian “national patriotism,” or Eckhard Jesse’s on contemporary far Right intellectuals. But even these add a little more to a given body of knowledge rather than pushing in any interesting new directions. The volume’s main accent is in any case on the early twentieth century, and here its contributors show a distressing lack of historical grounding and depth. Several (Stefan Breuer, Andreas Wirsching, Roger Eatwell, Armin Pfahl-Traughber) proceed from strong arguments about the fascist specificities of the 1920s, but show shocking indifference to the fullness of the available historiography, particularly for the key period of the late Kaiserreich. Others (Bernard Bruneteau on five French intellectuals of the 1930s, Frank-Lothar Kroll on the equivalence of Nazi and Bolshevik utopianism, Norbert Kapferer on Carl Schmitt’s relationship to the discourse of “total war” against “Judeo-Bolshevism”) rehearse the shared paradigm with varying degrees of schematic formalism. Overall, the work convened in this volume seems increasingly committed to feeding primarily off itself. Its authors observe the protocols of a now familiar framework based on a limited understanding of political ideology, Wirsching’s invocation of the “linguistic turn” (p. 92) notwithstanding. For anyone returning to such discussions after experiencing successively the social history wave and the so-called cultural turn, this discussion conveys a distinct sense of the déja vu.
Xavier Casals Meseguer, Ultrapatriotas. Extrema Derecha y Nacionalismo de la Guerra Fría a la Era de la Globalización, Barcelona: Crítica, 2003, 479 pp., ISBN: 84-8432-430-3 (hbk). Reviewed by Beatriz Acha (Public University of Navarre) Ultrapatriotas is a very well written work on the rise of right-wing extremism, neofascism, and nationalism in Europe in the last decades. Although rather exhaustive in