Totalitarianism: The Basics is an easy-to-read introduction into the main concepts, ideologies, and regimes associated with totalitarianism.

Starting with an overview of how scholars have attempted to define totalitarianism, Phillip W. Gray begins with an examination of the various types of terms used, helping the reader think about how these terms do – and do not – apply to different ideologies and governments. Easily accessible language and the use of numerous examples aid readers in seeing the connections between certain types of ideologies and some forms of organization/movements in their relation to historically well-known totalitarian regimes. Gray concludes with the tools necessary to think through how to distinguish between an actual (or potential) totalitarian system and regimes that, while oppressive or authoritarian, would not be totalitarian in nature. A rich bibliography containing additional readings bookend the text.

Totalitarianism: The Basics offers an essential introduction for students from all backgrounds seeking to understand totalitarianism and for general readers with an interest in political ideologies and extremism. For those knowledgeable in this field, it adds conceptual relevance and a variety of ways of thinking about the term.

chapter 1|23 pages


What Is Totalitarianism?

chapter 2|27 pages


How Totalitarianism Thinks

chapter 3|30 pages


How Totalitarianism Organizes

chapter 4|35 pages


How Totalitarianism Governs

chapter 5|28 pages

Totalitarianism in History

chapter 6|19 pages

The Future of Totalitarianism