Encounters with Europe’s New Right
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British journalist Fraser, in the course of shaping a television documentary, surveyed the topography and assessed the personalities of Continental hatred.

His book is a tour of nightmare Europe, from the tormentors of Asians in Leicester to the ill-disguised Nazi wannabes of Belgium, from Holocaust denier David Irving to French Front fascist Le Pen. From anti-Semitic Gallic provinces to Slavic hell, Fraser expertly sets the scene for deconstructing the mad fustian and malevolent bombast of EU xenophobia. The lunatics, the vigilantes, the demonic right-wing nuts are examined in person, interviewed by the author with fascinated curiosity tinged with patent distaste. (He succumbs to physical nausea after one tête-à-tête.) The protagonist-reporter, consorting with demagogues in cheap suits and skinheads in Doc Martens instead of jackboots, is, understandably, not entirely objective. Delightfully ad hominem, he describes the halitosis, glass eyes, stained fingers, blotched complexions, and rodent teeth of his nasty subjects. World-weary disgust is Fraser’s forte, and soon his text takes on the style of politics discussed while sucking on an unfiltered cig pinched between thumb and forefinger. But this is an urgent alarm. Are these performers actually threatening a return to the awful middle of the 20th century—for which see the ethnically cleansed Balkans—or are they simply demonic totems like, perhaps, Austria’s Herr Haider? Does press observation alter and foster the evil subjects being observed? How far does, should, or must tolerance go? Ultimately, Fraser concludes, there is an incipient danger, if not yet a clear and present one. Banal or not, he says, the only real hindrance to hatred rests with each of us.

A powerful screed against Euro-racism, diminished slightly by its tone of cosmopolitan revulsion.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 2001
ISBN: 1-58567-107-X
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2000