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GSB Presents: Jacob Heilbrunn
GSB Presents: Jacob Heilbrunn

Sat, Jun 22


Garcia Street Books

GSB Presents: Jacob Heilbrunn

Jacob Heilbrunn discusses his book "America Last: The Right's Century-Long Romance with Foreign Dictators"

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Time & Location

Jun 22, 2024, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Garcia Street Books, 376 Garcia St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA

About the event

In America Last, Jacob Heilbrunn, a highly respected observer of the American Right, demonstrates that

the infatuation of American conservatives with foreign dictators—though a striking and seemingly

inexplicable fact of our current moment—is not a new phenomenon. It dates to the First World War,

when some conservatives, enthralled with Kaiser Wilhelm II, openly rooted for him to defeat the forces

of democracy. In the 1920s and 1930s, this affinity became even more pronounced as Hitler and

Mussolini attracted a variety of American admirers. Throughout the cold war, the Right evinced a

fondness for autocrats such as Francisco Franco and Augusto Pinochet, while some conservatives wrote

apologias for the Third Reich and for Apartheid South Africa. The habit of mind is not really about

foreign policy, however. As Heilbrunn argues, the Right is drawn to what it perceives as the impressive

strength of foreign dictators, precisely because it seems them as models of how to fight against

liberalism and progressivism domestically.

AMERICA LAST is a guide for the perplexed, identifying and tracing a persuasion—or what one might

call the “illiberal imagination”—that has animated conservative politics for a century now. Since the

1940s, the Right has railed against communist fellow travelers in America. Heilbrunn finally corrects the

record, showing that dictator worship is an unignorable tradition within modern American

conservatism—and what it means for us today.

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