The Holocaust Historiography Project

Book review

The Fascist Ego: A Political Biography Of Robert Brasillach

  • The Fascist Ego: A Political Biography Of Robert Brasillach, William R. Tucker, University of California Press, 341 pp. hardback $22.95. ISBN: 0-520-027108

Reviewed by Bezalel Chaim

Robert Brasillach, one of the most promising literary critics, novelists, poets and journalists of the thirties, was condemned in a French courtroom of collaboration with the Germans and was executed in 1945, despite pleas for clemency to DeGaulle by such notables as Albert Camus, Francois Mauriac, Jean Cocteau, Colette, Gabriel Marcel, Jacques Rueff, Paul Valery, Georges Duhamel, Arthur Honegger, Jean-Louis Barrault, Paul Claudel, and others. The author, a member of the Department of Government, Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, sees in Brasillach’s involvement with fascism “a form of anarchic individualism or right-wing anarchism … and far from being a form of social or moral conservatism, Brasillach’s fascism was inspired by an anti-modernism that placed the creative individual’s sensibilities and his ego at the center of things. Brasillach’s fear that the individualist prerogatives of the creative elite would be submerged in the industrialized and rationalized society that loomed on the horizon was important as a basis for his thoughts and actions.” Professor Tucker’s attempt to link anarchism and fascism is not very successful but his book is an indispensable source for an understanding of Fascist ideology. Ultimately, like most academics, Professor Tucker is trapped by the “lock-step” reflexes of the last forty years but the issues he raises in the book are well-worth discussing.

From The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1980 (Vol. 1, No. 4), page 377.