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Nazis of Copley Square

The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front

Charles R. Gallagher

ISBN 9780674293878

Publication date: 09/19/2023

Winner of a Catholic Media Association Book Award

“A great, but deeply unsettling, revelation…This book is more than an account of Boston in wartime. It is a warning.”—Boston Globe

“The rare book by a scholar that is such a page-turner it is hard to put down…A potent brew of spy story, detective story, and frank, fearless account of how a significant wing of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States spawned a movement aimed at defending Hitler and sabotaging America’s war effort.”—David I. Kertzer, author of The Pope and Mussolini

“[A] well told, expertly researched, and much-needed history of the Christian Front, an organization that presages today’s far-right activity…Riveting.”—Commonweal

On January 13, 1940, FBI agents burst into the homes of seventeen members of the Christian Front, seizing guns, ammunition, and homemade bombs. J. Edgar Hoover’s charges were incendiary: the group, he alleged, was planning to incite a revolution and install a “temporary dictatorship” to stamp out Jewish and Communist influence in the United States. Interviewed in his jail cell, the front’s ringleader was unbowed: “All I can say is—long live Christ the King! Down with Communism!”

In this brilliant work of historical reconstruction, Charles Gallagher provides a crucial missing chapter in the history of the American far right. The men of the Christian Front imagined themselves to be crusaders fighting for the spiritual purification of the nation, and they were hardly alone in their beliefs.

Nazis of Copley Square chronicles the evolution of the front, the transatlantic cloak-and-dagger intelligence operations that subverted it, and the political and religious leaders who shielded it from scrutiny. A riveting tale of faith perverted to violent ends, it offers a potent warning to those who hope to curb the spread of far-right ideologies today.

Praise

  • A great, but deeply unsettling, revelation…A searing examination of how a city—where for nearly four centuries the phrase ‘cradle of liberty’ has slipped effortlessly off the tongue with a distinct Boston accent—played host to a group whose leading figures spoke favorably of Nazi Germany…This book is more than an account of Boston in wartime. It is a warning.

    —David M. Shribman, Boston Globe

Author

  • Charles R. Gallagher is Associate Professor of History at Boston College. His book Vatican Secret Diplomacy won the John Gilmary Shea Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association.

Book Details

  • 336 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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