Voice of Modern Hatred: Encounters with Europe's New Right

Voice of Modern Hatred: Encounters with Europe's New Right

by Nicholas Fraser
     
 
An important and chilling work of reportage that chronicles the reemergence of neo-Fascism across Europe today and its pervasive influence in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The end of the twentieth century was marked by a resurgence of extreme right-wing politics across Europe. Journalist Nicholas Fraser spent three years traveling across Europe to meet,

Overview

An important and chilling work of reportage that chronicles the reemergence of neo-Fascism across Europe today and its pervasive influence in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The end of the twentieth century was marked by a resurgence of extreme right-wing politics across Europe. Journalist Nicholas Fraser spent three years traveling across Europe to meet, confront, and try to understand the personalities behind this resurgence and assess the threat they pose to democracy. He interviewed members of "traditional" Far Rights groups, fascinated with the dark aesthetic of Fascism: the black boots, buckles, banners, and pagan mythology. He sat in meetings of "local"Fuhrers in Denmark, Belgium, and Germany-sporting the uniform of Doc Martens and Fred Perry polo shirts.

But the Far Right does not consist only of disorganzied, Doc-Martened hooligans. Fraser also spoke with leaders who speak a coded language of euphemism rather than overt hate language. Unlike the provocateur-ish French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, Austria's Jörg Haider has a talent for adapting his ideas to the present and, Fraser warns, one should not underestimate those who wear business suits and talk of "populism." His chapter on David Irving, the controversial right-wing historian who lost his libel lawsuit over claims he is a "Holocaust denier," marks a strike against those who would manipulate history.

In looking at neo-Fascism's recent history in Europe-its philosophical antecedents and its modern day adherents-Nicholas Fraser provides the deep background for the crucial and ongoing debate about how democracies should deal with the Far Right.

Author Bio: Nicholas Fraser was born in London and educated at Oxford. He has worked in New York and London as a journalist for major newspapers and a producer for the BBC. He is also the author of Continental Drifts: Travels in New Europe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
While traversing Europe, Fraser (Continental Drifts: Travels in the New Europe) interviewed Far Right party leaders and members and also attended rallies and meetings. In his travels, he discovered two distinct groups: one that has an open fascination with Nazi Germany, militarism, and racism and another that shares similar interests but hides these views with coded language and presentations of respectability. Fraser sees Jorg Haider, leader of the Austria Freedom Party, as especially dangerous. Fraser also does an excellent job of examining the Holocaust denial movement as a whole and the career of David Irving in particular. An excellent, readable account of the existence of fascism in modern Europe that nicely complements the more scholarly The Revival of Right Wing Extremism in the 90s (Frank Cass & Co., 1997) and The Politics of the Extreme Right (Pinter Pub., 2000). For both public and academic libraries.--Stephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ., OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Economist
The result is an excellent and readable book.
Kirkus Reviews
British journalist Fraser, in the course of shaping a television documentary, surveyed the topography and assessed the personalities of Continental hatred. His book is a tour of nightmare Europe, from the tormentors of Asians in Leicester to the ill-disguised Nazi wannabes of Belgium, from Holocaust denier David Irving to French Front fascist Le Pen. From anti-Semitic Gallic provinces to Slavic hell, Fraser expertly sets the scene for deconstructing the mad fustian and malevolent bombast of EU xenophobia. The lunatics, the vigilantes, the demonic right-wing nuts are examined in person, interviewed by the author with fascinated curiosity tinged with patent distaste. (He succumbs to physical nausea after one tête-à-tête.) The protagonist-reporter, consorting with demagogues in cheap suits and skinheads in Doc Martens instead of jackboots, is, understandably, not entirely objective. Delightfully ad hominem, he describes the halitosis, glass eyes, stained fingers, blotched complexions, and rodent teeth of his nasty subjects. World-weary disgust is Fraser's forte, and soon his text takes on the style of politics discussed while sucking on an unfiltered cig pinched between thumb and forefinger. But this is an urgent alarm. Are these performers actually threatening a return to the awful middle of the 20th century—for which see the ethnically cleansed Balkans—or are they simply demonic totems like, perhaps, Austria's Herr Haider? Does press observation alter and foster the evil subjects being observed? How far does, should, or must tolerance go? Ultimately, Fraser concludes, there is an incipient danger, if not yet a clear and present one. Banal ornot,hesays, the only real hindrance to hatred rests with each of us. A powerful screed against Euro-racism, diminished slightly by its tone of cosmopolitan revulsion.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780330372121
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
01/28/2000
Pages:
327
Product dimensions:
5.91(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >