Goldberg’s book is an anomaly: serious students of political science shouldn’t find anything here they didn’t already know. Alas, I had to say “shouldn’t”, because a very great number of people who consider themselves serious students of political science will be shocked and astonished to discover that Fascism, Progressivism, and modern American Liberalism have many intellectual roots in common. Roosevelt’s New Deal incorporated many elements of Italian Fascism, and in fact before the mid-30′s many Western statesmen had admiring things to say about Fascism and about Il Duce Mussolini who made the trains run on time and brought prosperity — or its illusion — to Italy. Goldberg documents all this as well as the Jacobin roots of both Fascism and Progressivism. The notion that human life can be improved by central planning and tinkering with the legal and economic system is the common thread to them all.
Fascism lost any claim to intellectual respectability in the 30′s, but this was due in large part to Stalin’s change in the Party Line to form the Popular Front Against Fascism. After that, the word Fascism ceased to have any meaning beyond “Ugh, I hate it!” Most Americans today will be surprised to learn that Mussolini was not anti-Semitic, there were high ranking Jews in the Italian Fascist Party and government, and despite Roberto Benigni’s movie, Jews were not sent to camps until after the fall of the Fascist government and the German occupation of Italy. There was in Italy a certain amount of anti-Semitism as there has been in many countries, but it was not the official policy of the Fascist party.
I can recommend Goldberg’s book to the intellectually curious, but I do warn you that it falls between the cracks being neither a strictly scholarly work nor yet a popularization. It is readable provided that you can accept that Goldberg apologizes every few pages from fear that he will be misunderstood.