Willian Doino, co-author of The Pius War, sends this nice note:
Dear Mr. Goldberg–I was late purchasing your book, Liberal Fascism, and even later discovering your LF blog, but noted with interest your recent discussion about the film, “Valkyrie,” and how much conservatives can lay claim to the anti-Nazi German Resistance–I touched upon some of these themes in a review of that film (for First Things) earlier this year–I attach my review, via this link, in case you’re interested.
As for your book, it is clearly a massive accomplishment, though obviously debatable in parts. My friend, the late Austrian political scientist Erik von Kuehnelt Leddihn–one of WFB’s early contributors at NR, whom I’m sure you’re familiar with–wrote about the Left’s fascist/totalitarian tendencies in his masterpiece, Leftism Revisted; and what Liberal Fascism does, I believe, is extend and expand upon that theme, for our own generation–with original insights, and a powerful, sustained argument. Anyone who wants to associate Fascism exclusively with the Right will now have to contend with your book.
The only criticism I have of LF -and perhaps this was beyond its scope–is the omission of any extended discussion of the “fascist” charge levelled against the Christian Churches–and, in particular, the Catholic Church under Pope Pius XII during WW II. This is a raging controversy, which the Left often invokes to assail the Right, but it is based more on emotion and mythology than fact. (Indeed, the latest scholarship is very much on Pius XII’s side here–see, for example, Michael Burleigh’s acclaimed book, Sacred Causes). I’ve spent a considerable amount of my time on these issues (and published an 80,000 annotated bibliography on Pius in the anthology, The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII [edited by David Dalin and Joseph Bottum], which was reviewed–favorably, I’m pleased to say– in National Review, Feb 14, 2005)–if you’re interested in this subject, or plan to write about it in the future, you might find our anthology (I can send you a copy) and/or my long critique of historian Saul Friedlander–also published by First Things–of interest; here is a link to my essay/review of Friedlander’s work, focusing on the papacy and the Holocaust (the essay itself contains many links within it, which you may want to reference as well).
I think Friedlander is a great historian, but like many great historians, he has a blindspot about conservatives, Pius XII and the Catholic Church–and their relationship to fascism and Nazism. If conservatives want to defend themselves against the charge of being “fascistic,” they should know how to defend the papacy–which has been one of conservatism’s greatest friends.
Sincerely, William Doino
Me: Yes, I’m deeply indebted to Erik von Kuehnelt Leddihn, his book was very useful to me (as I think I’ve mentioned around here before).
As for the Church’s treatment in LF, I agree it’s a worthwhile subject. I waded into it just enough while researching the book, that I decided that I couldn’t do it justice in the space available. Lots of fascinating and important subjects fell by the wayside. One of my favorites, the Italian treatment of Jews in Mussolini’s Italy, started as a chapter and ended up being a few paragraphs.