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Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism

Written by:
Rachel Maddow
Narrated by:
Rachel Maddow

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
October 2023
13 hours 9 minutes
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Rachel Maddow traces the fight to preserve American democracy back to World War II, when a handful of committed public servants and brave private citizens thwarted far-right plotters trying to steer our nation toward an alliance with the Nazis.
“A ripping read—well rendered, fast-paced and delivered with the same punch and assurance that she brings to a broadcast. . . . The parallels to the present day are strong, even startling.”—The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)

Inspired by her research for the hit podcast Ultra, Rachel Maddow charts the rise of a wild American strain of authoritarianism that has been alive on the far-right edge of our politics for the better part of a century. Before and even after our troops had begun fighting abroad in World War II, a clandestine network flooded the country with disinformation aimed at sapping the strength of the U.S. war effort and persuading Americans that our natural alliance was with the Axis, not against it. It was a sophisticated and shockingly well-funded campaign to undermine democratic institutions, promote antisemitism, and destroy citizens’ confidence in their elected leaders, with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the U.S. government and installing authoritarian rule.
That effort worked—tongue and groove—alongside an ultra-right paramilitary movement that stockpiled bombs and weapons and trained for mass murder and violent insurrection.
At the same time, a handful of extraordinary activists and journalists were tracking the scheme, exposing it even as it was unfolding. In 1941 the U.S. Department of Justice finally made a frontal attack, identifying the key plotters, finding their backers, and prosecuting dozens in federal court.
None of it went as planned.
While the scheme has been remembered in history—if at all—as the work of fringe players, in reality it involved a large number of some of the country’s most influential elected officials. Their interference in law enforcement efforts against the plot is a dark story of the rule of law bending and then breaking under the weight of political intimidation.
That failure of the legal system had consequences. The tentacles of that unslain beast have reached forward into our history for decades. But the heroic efforts of the activists, journalists, prosecutors, and regular citizens who sought to expose the insurrectionists also make for a deeply resonant, deeply relevant tale in our own disquieting times.
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Should be red by all prior to 2024 election.

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Yet again Maddow knocks it out of the ballpark. Everything about her is marked with excellence. One of the great thinkers, writers, speakers and influential people of this generation. I couldn’t love her entire body of work more if I tried. Bravo Rachel!!!!

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A natural researcher, gifted with the art of language, and a knack for communicating in a coloyrful vernacular.this story should be the sequel to her Podcast, ULTRA, to understand the characters and context of the story.

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Dolores L.

Incredible and haunting especially in light of what Trump promises if re-elected as president.

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Rachel Maddow as usual doing amazing work

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Robert Scott

I love the way Rachel approaches her subjects. She always finds the parts of history that are less emphasize, but that are thoroughly important. Great book.

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Steven D.

Loved it! Especially with Rachel narrating it.

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Ernesto 213

Great listen. excellent faxts

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Todd N.

Great piece of actual truth telling.

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Great work. Rachel delivers much needed history of fascism and how it creeps into American life to tear down democracy and freedom. This is a book that all should read and study especially in our unstable present American society. Rachel reads her book with much clarity and vitality. It is quite obvious she has done much historical study prior to her writings.

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Gr8Americanlib T.

The book is outstanding and it serves as a reminder that "those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." It is so important in this current political cycle that this book is read by all Americans.

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