A review in the Claremont Review of Books said:
Goldberg is certainly right when he says that most academics have willfully ignored modern liberalism's progressive-fascist roots, although scholars such as James Ceaser, John Marini, and others (including me) have in fact been calling attention to the progressive origins of modern liberalism for the past 20 years. Liberal Fascism clearly draws from these works but makes surprisingly little reference to them, even in a few instances when the book's observations sound awfully familiar. Yet if Goldberg proceeds, in some respects, down a path blazed by others, he does so with the kind of terrific writing and energy that is certain to make the connection between modern liberalism and its statist ancestors a more prominent factor in America's political battles and debates.
Author David Pryce-Jones, a colleague of Goldberg's at National Review, wrote,
Jonah Goldberg argues that liberals today have doctrinal and emotional roots in twentieth-century European fascism. Many people will be shocked just by the thought that long discredited fascism could mutate into the spirit of another age. It's always exhilarating when someone takes on received opinion, but this is not a work of pamphleteering. Goldberg's insight, supported by a great deal of learning, happens to be right.
A review in Publishers Weekly said:
In this provocative and well-researched book, Goldberg probes modern liberalism's spooky origins in early 20th-century fascist politics. ... Goldberg's study of the conceptual overlap between fascism and ideas emanating from the environmental movement, Hollywood, the Democratic Party and what he calls other left-wing organs is shocking and hilarious. ... The book's tone suffers as it oscillates between revisionist historical analyses and the application of fascist themes to American popular culture; nonetheless, the controversial arc Goldberg draws from Mussolini to The Matrix is well-researched, seriously argued—and funny.
Larry Thornberry of the Washington Times called the book "a major contribution to understanding the history of political ideas and attitudes over the last two centuries and change. ... Readers of Mr. Goldberg's column and articles are warned that they will find little of his usual humor and whimsy. "Liberal Fascism" is not a tome. But it's a relentlessly analytic treatment of a large, serious and complex subject. "
Ron Radosh of The New York Sun wrote:
Mr. Goldberg presents a strong and compelling case that the very idea of fascism emanated from the ranks of liberalism. ... He has read widely and thoroughly, not only in the primary sources of fascism, but in the political and intellectual history written by the major historians of the subject. ...Some will rightfully take issue with Mr. Goldberg when he describes the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton as fascist. On this, he strains and pushes his evidence too far to convince the reader that these paragons of liberalism can be called fascist in any sense of the term. Mr. Goldberg makes a stronger case when he accuses the New Left of classic fascist behavior, when its cadre took to the streets and through action discarded its early idealism for what Mr. Goldberg correctly calls "fascist thuggery."
Marvin Olasky of World Magazine wrote,
Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism is a flawed but useful attempt to redraw the political map. Goldberg shows how Woodrow Wilson began and Franklin Roosevelt amplified an almost-fascist concentration of power in Washington. FDR boasted of his 'wholesome and proper' buildup of power because he was leading 'a people's government.' Goldberg shows how liberals came to believe that authoritarian government is fine as long as representatives of 'the people' — themselves — are in charge.
Economist Thomas Sowell wrote,
Those who put a high value on words may recoil at the title of Jonah Goldberg's new book, Liberal Fascism. As a result, they may refuse to read it, which will be their loss — and a major loss. Those who value substance over words, however, will find in this book a wealth of challenging insights, backed up by thorough research and brilliant analysis. This is the sort of book that challenges the fundamental assumptions of its time — and which, for that reason, is likely to be shunned rather than criticized. It is a book for people who want to think, rather than repeat rhetoric.
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