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Rachel Maddow at the Robert Frost

Television news host Rachel Maddow and Centaurian Staff Writer Ariana Khan.

On Sunday, October 22 2023, Rachel Maddow came to the Robert Frost Auditorium with Live Talks LA on tour for her new book, Prequal: An American Fight Against Facism. Maddow is a TV news program host and political commentator. She hosts The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. 

Rachel Maddow had agreed to an interview for the Centaurian, where she answered questions about her writing process, and how Prequel can offer guidance to younger generations. 

Prequel is Maddow’s fourth book, having previously written Blowout, Drift, and Bag Man. However, what differed in Prequel’s writing process needed for her to “marinate in the archives”. Prequel details the story of journalists, politicians, and every-day citizens, and they fight against rapidly growing fascism, and anti-semitism within the United States leading up to World War ll. 

When asked about how young people can learn from the people and events described in the book, Rachel Maddow states that fascists, in any time period, will always use the same tactics to invoke fear from people, and garner fear for minorities and marginalized groups. She advised that knowing how these issues reoccur within American society, can help people understand the current political and social climate. 

Maddow’s primary motivation for writing Prequel came from a curiosity about the current increase in anti-semitism, and Holocaust denial among fascist groups in America. This caused her to go back in history, to see where the root of these issues stemmed from. She then found records of a sedition trial in 1944, where the people who were put on trial had links to Nazi Germany. While this discovery had been unexpected, Maddow realized that this story is the story that she needed to tell. 

The title Prequel refers to activists, whether politicians, journalists, or everyday civilians, who fought against the growing anti-semitism in America leading up to World War ll. During that time, ultra conservative voices dominated the mainstream narrative, making it difficult to speak up and expose American Nazis. Maddow believes that by telling the story about how those advocating against these groups ultimately triumphed over them, people now will feel more hope for the future of the country. These activists also testified against the American Nazi groups when they were put on trial for sedition. However the trial ended in a mistrial, and the judge passed away before the trial could be completed. 

Rachel Maddow also pointed out how this history of American Nazi groups is left out of history textbooks when teaching about World War ll, as it doesn’t neatly fit into the patriotic narrative about America fighting Nazi Germany. Violent oppression against American Jews didn’t match the heroic image of American soldiers killing Nazis. 

Lastly, Maddow discussed how the government needs more accountability, since hatred and violence perpetrated by harmful narratives can so often go unchecked, or even be encouraged by politicians, with no consequence for their actions. While Prequel may describe darker times in American history, Rachel Maddow hopes that it will give Americans more hope for the future.

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About the Contributor
Ariana Khan, Staff Writer
I'm a sophomore that enjoys reading, writing, and drawing.

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