University of Wisconsin Press colophon



University of Wisconsin Madison crest that links to main university site

Association of University Presses member logo that links to main AUPresses site



Catalog Archive / Spring 2024

Masses and Man
Nationalist and Fascist Perceptions of Reality
With a critical introduction by Enzo Traverso

The Collected Works of George L. Mosse

“Stimulating and well written.”
New York Times

Exploring Mosse’s groundbreaking insights into “secular religions”

In fourteen essays that speak to the full breadth of George L. Mosse’s intellectual horizons and scholarly legacy, Masses and Man explores radical nationalism, fascism, and Jewish modernity in twentieth-century Europe. Breaking from the conventions of historical analysis, Mosse shows that “secular religions” like fascism cannot be understood only as the products of socioeconomic or intellectual histories but rather must be approached first and foremost as cultural phenomena.

Masses and Man comprises three parts. The first lays out a cultural history of nationalism, essentially the first of its kind, emphasizing the importance of sacred expressions like myths, symbols, and rituals as appropriated in a political context. The second zeroes in on fascism’s most dramatic irruptions in European history in the rise of Italian Fascism and the Nazi Party in Germany, elucidating these as not just political movements but also cultural and even aesthetic ones. The third part considers nationalism and fascism from the particular standpoint of German Jews.

Taken in full, the volume offers an eloquent summation of Mosse’s groundbreaking insights into European nationalism, fascism, and Jewish history in the twentieth century. A new critical introduction by Enzo Traverso helpfully situates Mosse’s work in context and exposes the many ways in which Masses and Man, first published in 1980, remains relevant today.


George L. Mosse (1918–99) was a legendary scholar, teacher, and mentor. A refugee from Nazi Germany, in 1955 he joined the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was both influential and popular. Mosse was an early leader in the study of modern European cultural and intellectual history, the study of fascism, and the history of sexuality and masculinity. Over his career he authored more than two dozen books.



Download Cover: color | b/w

Request Review Copy

Request Exam Copy


Table of Contents

A Critical Introduction by Enzo Traverso

Introduction: Nationalism and Human Perceptions

1. Literature and Society in Germany
2. What Germans Really Read
3. Death, Time, and History: Völkisch Utopia and Its Transcendence
4. The Poet and the Exercise of Political Power: Gabriele D’Annunzio
5. Caesarism, Circuses, and Monuments
6. The French Right and the Working Classes: Les Jaunes
7. The Heritage of Socialist Humanism

8. Toward a General Theory of Fascism
9. The Occult Origins of National Socialism
10. Nazi Polemical Theater: The Kampfbühne
11. Fascism and the Avant-Garde

12. The Secularization of Jewish Theology
13. The Jews and the German War Experience, 1914–1918
14. German Socialists and the Jewish Question in the Weimar Republic



Also by George L. Mosse


Confronting the Nation
Jewish and Western Nationalism
With a critical introduction by Shulamit Volkov

Germans and Jews: Illustration of a geometric mosaic consisting of various red, orange, and yellow pieces. In the center, a large black rectangle contains the title and author text. Design by Jennifer Conn.

Germans and Jews
The Right, the Left, and the Search for a “Third Force” in Pre-Nazi Germany
With a critical introduction by Sarah Wobick-Segev

Masses and Man: Illustration of a geometric mosaic consisting of various red, black, white, and gray pieces. In the center, a large black rectangle contains the title and author text. Design by Jennifer Conn.

Larger images

June 2024
LC: 2023043804
382 pp. 6 x 9
1 b/w illus.

Book icon
Paper $28.95 S
ISBN 9780299347642
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
Review Cart