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American Fuehrer

The founder of the American Nazi party and its leader until he was murdered in 1967, George Lincoln Rockwell was one of the most significant extremist strategists and ideologists of the postwar period. His influence has only increased since his death. A powerful catalyst and innovator, Rockwell broadened his constituency beyond the core Radical Right by articulating White Power politics in terms that were subsequently appropriated by the one-time klansman David Duke. He played a major role in developing Holocaust revisionism, now an orthodoxy of the Far Right. He also helped politicize Christian Identity, America's most influential right-wing religious movement, and welded together an international organization of neo-Nazis. All of these extremist movements continue to thrive today. Frederick Simonelli's biography of this powerful and enigmatic figure draws on primary sources of extraordinary depth, including declassified FBI files and manuscripts and other materials held by Rockwell's family and associates. The first objective assessment of the American Nazi party and an authoritative study of the roots of neo-nazism, neo-fascism, and White Power extremism in postwar America, "American Fuehrer" is shocking and absorbing reading.
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"This excellent biography sounds a timely warning against complacency toward contemporary extremists." - Publishers Weekly "Strong stuff that needs to see the light of day." - Booklist "Simonelli's book is well worth reading. It provides a sensible antidote to the shrill cries of hateful leaders." -- Leonard Dinnerstein, American Historical Review "Call me sick, but I had to laugh sometimes while I was reading American Fuehrer ... Laugh the way I would at, say, Charlie Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel in his 1940 Hitler spoof, "The Great Dictator," because you can't believe someone that depraved, that clownish, that peerlessly narcissistic can win over a single person, much less crowds. Rockwell ... was pathetic and probably mentally ill, but he had charisma... Another nutbar, then. Why should we care? Because, Simonelli stresses, in a nation in which Timothy McVeigh and Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris inflict themselves, Rockwell types still cut a swath." - Katharine Whittemore, Salon Magazine "A meticulously researched work invaluable for its bibliography alone." -- Susan Canedy, The Journal of American History "[Rockwell's] place in the resurgence of racism and anti-Semitism is contained in a biography by Frederick J. Simonelli called American Fuehrer. Read it and you'll understand to some extent why a slick racist rabble-rouser like David Duke exists today. You'll know why there are skinheads and why there are churches that preach the ugliest forms of separatism. Rockwell redefined Nazism to fit America... Simonelli has researched the life of hatred's godfather for almost a decade. He knows him well." - Al Martinez, Los Angeles Times "This is a very good book about a very ugly subject." - Arnold Ages, Chicago Jewish Star "If you're interested in how the network of modern hate got its start, American Fuehrer is a must-read." - Roger Matile, Kendall County Record "The book itself is cool and serious, without a hint of sensationalism...Simonelli provides extensive documentation - and his footnotes and bibliography are, in a way, the most astonishing pages in the book... American Fuehrer is an important addition to the literature on the far right." - Scott McLemee, In These Times "Writing about an individual whose historical legacy is radical and religious hatred is an arduous and perhaps thankless task. Simonelli, writing with grace and care, makes clear his rejection of George Lincoln Rockwell's ideas while successfully demonstrating Rockwell's strategies, affiliations, and significance... The subject matter of this book is not pleasant reading, but the book is both timely and important." - Martin Ridge, Journal of Illinois History "American Fuehrer was difficult to research, and Simonelli has done an unusually industrious job of piecing together Rockwell's personal life and painting a compelling human portrait... This first biography of one of the more enigmatic and contemptible figures of our time will be most useful to those interested in exploring the nature of anti-Semites and anti-Semitism and designing strategies to combat it." - Glen Jeansonne, American Jewish History ADVANCE PRAISE "Simonelli has had extraordinary access to an unusual range of sources unexamined or unknown prior to his research, including private archives. This is a splendid piece of original scholarship on a significant topic, written with verve and clarity."-Michael Barkun, author of Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement "Simonelli has mined the rich lode of personal interviews and archives relating to George Lincoln Rockwell and written the definitive treatment of his subject."-Peter Merkl, coeditor of Encounters with the Contemporary Radical Right

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