Totalitarianism : The Basics book cover
1st Edition

The Basics

  • Available for pre-order on May 30, 2023. Item will ship after June 20, 2023
ISBN 9781032183732
June 20, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

Totalitarianism: The Basics is an easy to read introduction into the main concepts, ideologies, and regimes associated with totalitarianism.

Starting with an overview of how scholars have attempted to define totalitarianism, Phillip W. Gray begins with an examination of the various types of terms used, helping the reader think about how these terms do – and do not – apply to different ideologies and governments. Easily accessible language and the use of numerous examples aids readers in seeing the connections between certain types of ideologies and some forms of organization/movements in their relation to historically well-known totalitarian regimes. Gray concludes with the tools necessary to think through how to distinguish between an actual (or potential) totalitarian system and regimes that, while oppressive or authoritarian, would not be totalitarian in nature. A rich bibliography containing additional readings bookend the text.

Totalitarianism: The Basics offers an essential introduction for students from all backgrounds seeking to understand totalitarianism and for general readers with an interest in political ideologies and extremism. For those knowledgeable in this field, it adds conceptual relevance and the varieties of ways of thinking about the term.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: What is Totalitarianism?

2. Ideology: How Totalitarianism Thinks

3. Movement/Party: How Totalitarianism Organizes

4. Regime: How Totalitarianism Governs

5. Totalitarianism in History

6. The Future of Totalitarianism


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Phillip W. Gray is an independent scholar who previously taught at Texas A&M University at Qatar, the United States Coast Guard Academy, and at various university in Hong Kong. His main research areas are extremist political ideologies and movements, comparative political theory, and the history of political thought. His most recent book is Vanguardism: Ideology and Organization in Totalitarian Politics (Routledge, 2020).