When I interviewed my Italian-American grandfather before he died several years ago at the age of 103, he told me that there were members of my extended family in America who supported Benito Mussolini in the 1930s.
I though about this again as I read Justin Vassallo’s Boston Review review of Katy Hull,’s The Machine Has A Soul: American Sympathy with Italian Fascism. I need to read this book.
Here is a taste:
In lean, eloquent prose, Hull weaves together the intellectual and status-seeking journeys of four Americans: the conservative ambassador to Italy (1921–1924) and writer Richard Washburn Child, the political philosopher Herbert Wallace Schneider, the Italian-American newspaper publisher Generoso Pope, and McCormick herself. Hull takes these four figures as representative of common threads of fascist sympathy in the United States. Their sympathy flowed from different social and political moorings, but as Hull explains, all thought that the United States, coming into full force as a world power, lacked the political leadership required “to make democracy relevant, to manage the pace of industrialization, and to support those who felt left behind in the modern world.” Italian fascism stood for them as an appealing model, yoking together communitarian values and national progress in a way that had eluded American government.
Read the rest here.