Why are the lies fascists tell so significant to their political power? Federico Finchelstein, a world-renowned historian and Professor of History at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College, unpacks the answer in his new book A Brief History of Fascist Lies.

Finchelstein joined UC Press Director Tim Sullivan in this virtual conversation to discuss how his book is essential for understanding our current “post-truth” moment, and how posing hateful and racist lies as truth is core to fascist leaders’ powerful political ideology. 

In this video, Finchelstein describes how his experience growing up in Argentina under a violent dictatorship compelled him to examine why fascist leaders lie and why their followers seem to accept these lies despite empirical evidence to the contrary. Connecting past examples of Hitler and Mussolini to more current day cases such as Trump and Bolsonaro, Finchelstein helps us deconstruct the political rhetoric around “fake news.” As Finchelstein explains, when Trump says “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” he is carrying on a long political tradition of fascist leaders who impose ideology onto reality.

Check out Finchelstein’s new book A Brief History of Fascist Lies, now available wherever books are sold, including indie stores currently offering curbside pickup, and websites like Bookshop.org.