Madeleine Albright’s guide to fascism, past and present

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Fascism: A Warning. By Madeleine Albright. Harper Collins; 254 pages; $27.99 and £16.99.

WITHIN each human heart lies an inexhaustible yearning for liberty, “or so we democrats like to believe”, writes Madeleine Albright near the end of “Fascism: A Warning”, a book on how nations descend into tyranny. In reality, that desire often competes with another: the urge to be told what to do. When people are fearful, angry or confused, observes Mrs Albright, a former secretary of state, they are tempted to give away freedoms, or the freedom of others, to leaders promising order. In uncertain times many no longer want to be asked what they think: “We want to be told where to march.”

Her book is dedicated to victims of fascism, but also to “all who fight fascism in others and in themselves”. Mrs Albright has earned the right to that ambitious mission-statement. At a moment when the question “Is this how it begins?” haunts Western…Continue reading

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