Listen free for 30 days

  • Prequel

  • An American Fight Against Fascism
  • Written by: Rachel Maddow
  • Narrated by: Rachel Maddow
  • Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo + applicable taxes after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Prequel cover art

Prequel

Written by: Rachel Maddow
Narrated by: Rachel Maddow
Try for $0.00

$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $29.14

Buy Now for $29.14

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.
activate_primeday_promo_in_buybox_DT

Publisher's Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Rachel Maddow traces the fight to preserve American democracy back to World War II, when a handful of committed public servants and brave private citizens thwarted far-right plotters trying to steer our nation toward an alliance with the Nazis.

“A ripping read—well rendered, fast-paced and delivered with the same punch and assurance that she brings to a broadcast. . . . The parallels to the present day are strong, even startling.”—The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)

Inspired by her research for the hit podcast Ultra, Rachel Maddow charts the rise of a wild American strain of authoritarianism that has been alive on the far-right edge of our politics for the better part of a century. Before and even after our troops had begun fighting abroad in World War II, a clandestine network flooded the country with disinformation aimed at sapping the strength of the U.S. war effort and persuading Americans that our natural alliance was with the Axis, not against it. It was a sophisticated and shockingly well-funded campaign to undermine democratic institutions, promote antisemitism, and destroy citizens’ confidence in their elected leaders, with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the U.S. government and installing authoritarian rule.

That effort worked—tongue and groove—alongside an ultra-right paramilitary movement that stockpiled bombs and weapons and trained for mass murder and violent insurrection.

At the same time, a handful of extraordinary activists and journalists were tracking the scheme, exposing it even as it was unfolding. In 1941 the U.S. Department of Justice finally made a frontal attack, identifying the key plotters, finding their backers, and prosecuting dozens in federal court.

None of it went as planned.

While the scheme has been remembered in history—if at all—as the work of fringe players, in reality it involved a large number of some of the country’s most influential elected officials. Their interference in law enforcement efforts against the plot is a dark story of the rule of law bending and then breaking under the weight of political intimidation.

That failure of the legal system had consequences. The tentacles of that unslain beast have reached forward into our history for decades. But the heroic efforts of the activists, journalists, prosecutors, and regular citizens who sought to expose the insurrectionists also make for a deeply resonant, deeply relevant tale in our own disquieting times.

©2023 Rachel Maddow (P)2023 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"TV host and political commentator Rachel Maddow shines at framing the backstory of current American politics in her latest audiobook, narrated in her signature forthright style.... As Maddow employs her customary earnest tone and unhurried cadence, her wry storytelling ability is on full display. The result is a terrifyingly familiar look at America's earlier, and continuing, dance with fascism." (AudioFile)

“Maddow’s sublime research into the precursors of current existential threats is astonishingly deep. She finds rabbit holes even rabbits are unaware of.” Booklist, starred review

“America beat fascism once. Maddow’s timely study of enemies on the homefront urges that we can do so again.” Kirkus, starred reviews

“Maddow’s book is a ripping read—well rendered, fast-paced and delivered with the same punch and assurance that she brings to a broadcast. . . . Prequel is a valuable window into the authoritarian mind-set—and the process by which self-professed patriots turn against democracy . . . the parallels to the present day are strong, even startling . . .” The New York Times

More from the same

Author:

Narrator:

What listeners say about Prequel

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    45
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling!

I couldn't "put it down". Absolutely compelling look into the history of fascism in the USA during the 20th Century. Thanks, Rachel Maddow.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A tale essential to our times!

In-depth and insightful history that is a must read for those who seek to learn from the sad lessons of our recent past. Brilliant and so very timely.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Rachel Maddow amazing

Rachel Maddow is simply amazing the narration keeps you going and her mastery of the subject is indéniable.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Those Who Forget the Past…

What an amazing tale Ms Maddow tells- to think that it happened then and is happening again now is truly terrifying. The same story, different players. Of all the books that I have heard by this author this is definitely the one that stands above the others and that’s saying something because they have all been amazing. Take the time and do your country (and democracy in 2023) a favour and read this book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A history lesson I hope we can learn from

A well-told acknowledgement of the extensive propagation of anti-semitism in the US leading up to and during WWII. A reminder that this hate was not excised from its population, not even its government post-war. A stark yet deeply needed telling, giving us an opportunity to be more informed and less naive as we try to understand and live within the world’s current political landscape. The recording/editing of the audiobook did not match the level of excellence expected when associated with an author like Rachel Maddow.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jan
  • 2023-11-26

History seems to repeat itself

This book was similar to a podcast Rachel put together. The podcast called Deja News but an extended edition of one of the episodes. I really learn a lot from Rachel’s story telling, as she can point out relevant history to today . I was happy when I saw that she was the narrator of the audiobook. Great job!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I'm Glad I Listened to It

I'm glad I listened to this book and feel that I am certainly more informed than I was before. The troubling thing for me was that about half way through the book, I was "troubled" or "confused" with the thought, "Wow, this really happened.... and the knowledge of it nowadays for myself and basically everyone that I know was, basically non-existent or not aware...?"

I really like Rachel Maddow and what she usually has to say but I couldn't help but feel that the way the book was narrated (the passion and intonation in her voice) left me wonder about biases and selectivness in story telling. Afterwards, it left me to think or consider, are the stories that I see on her MSNBC show, much different than what might be played on FOX? And, am I really being given the "whole" story... or just enough of a story to fit an agenda?

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!!!! 😊

no one explains a topic like Rachel..thank you so much. Can't wait for the next one.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Nazis in America

After World War II, Americans became preoccupied with stamping out communism in every closet. The real danger before, during and after World War II was actually the Nazis. Among Truman's many failures was his coverup of Nazi sympathisers in Congress.

There is something eternally attractive in the Fascist mythology. These people will always be with us. People impatient with democracy will always yearn for a "strong" leader who will substitute the ballot box with the billy club. Fascism still has appeal with a large block of American voters.

I read this just after "American Prometheus." I strongly recommend this as an introduction to politics in early 20th-century America. Anti-communist craziness ran rampant while the American public was unaware of the influence that kept America out of World War II until Germany declared war on America. If it were not for Pearl Harbour, it's likely that America would have staid out and Hitler would have won.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A cautionary tale

Rachel once again makes it abundantly clear why we should understand history. It’s my hope that this should be taught in schools

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful