Did It Happen Here?: Perspectives on Fascism and America

Regular price $ 28.99

Edited by Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins

W.W. Norton & Company

3/19/2024, hardcover

SKU: 9781324074397


Since the election of Donald Trump, politicians, historians, intellectuals, and media pundits have been faced with a startling and urgent question: Are we threatened by fascism? Some see striking connections between our current moment and the tumultuous interwar period in Europe. But others question if these connections really reflect our current political moment or if they are another example of Eurocentrism and American provincialism speaking over a much more complex global political landscape.

Did It Happen Here? collects, in one place, key texts from the sharpest minds in politics, history, and the academy beginning with classic pieces by Hannah Arendt, Angela Davis, Reinhold Niebuhr, Leon Trotsky, and others. The book's contemporary contributors include Ruth Ben-Ghiat on the trivialization of the term "fascism," Jason Stanley and Sarah Churchwell on the Black radical perspective, and Robert O. Paxton on Trump. These writers argue firmly that fascism is alive and well in America today, but another set of contemporary voices disagree. Samuel Moyn demonstrates the limitations of historical comparison. Rebecca Panovka examines the uses and abuses of Hannah Arendt's work. Anton Jager and Victoria De Grazia make the case that the social and communal conditions necessary for fascism do not exist in the United States. Still others, like Priya Satia and Pankaj Mishra, are critical of the narrow framework of this debate and argue for a global perspective.

Did it Happen Here? brings together a range of brilliant intellectuals, offering vital takes on our evolving political landscape. The questions posed by editor Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins is one that readers will be debating for decades to come. Is fascism significantly influencing--even threatening to dominate--modern American politics? Is it happening here?


"In recent years, there is perhaps no other topic that has sparked spirited debate among academics, politicians, and journalists more than fascism. This sharp, timely, and capacious collection masterfully peels back the layers of fascism--closely analyzing its historical roots, shifting meanings, global dimensions, and enduring impact on American society. This is a valuable contribution to modern political thought." --Keisha N. Blain, co-editor of Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

"Going well beyond the question of who or what deserves to be called a fascist, this unparalleled collection provides an urgently needed examination of American democracy in critical condition." --Tara Zahra, author of Against the World

"The 'fascism debates' of the Trump era say less about fascism or right-wing politics than the fault lines that divide Trump's enemies on the liberal left. The Trump debate will fade, but the big questions explored in this thoughtfully curated volume will linger." --Matthew Karp, author of The Vast Southern Empire

About the Author:

Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins is an assistant professor of history and social theory in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University and runs a regular interview series at the Nation. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.