Cover image for The silent war : imperialism and the changing perception of race
The silent war : imperialism and the changing perception of race
Furedi, Frank, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
282 pages ; 22 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HT1521 .F84 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"The Silent War transcends the disciplinary line that divides race relations from international relations. It is an enterprise in sociological investigation which seeks to mobilize the insights of history to clarify how the consciousness of race has evolved." - Kofi Buenor Hadjor

Racial identity has been one of the defining characteristics of the twentieth century. Yet, argues Frank Furedi in this provocative study, advocates of racial identity have long felt uncomfortable with the racialized global order which they created.

Furedi traces the history of Western colonial racist ideology and its role in subjugating non-Western peoples. He analyzes the changing perception of racism in the West and how the use of "race" has altered during the course of the twentieth century.

Focusing on the Second World War as the critical turning point in racist ideology, Furedi argues that the defeat of Nazism left the West uneasy with its own racist past. He assesses how this was redefined in the postwar period-especially during the Cold War- and demonstrates that, although white supremacist views gradually became obsolete in international affairs, Western nations were initially unwilling to accept criticism of their past and sought to portray racism as a natural part of human condition. As a result the West continued to adopt the moral high ground well into the postwar period, to the ultimate detriment of non-Western nations.

Author Notes

Frank Furedi is a professor of sociology at the University of Kent at Canterbury. He has written widely on history, sociology, and politics and is the author of The New Ideology of Imperialism: Renewing the Moral Imperative and Mythical Past, Elusive Future: History and Society in an Anxious Age.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this pioneering book Furedi (Univ. of Kent), author of The New Ideology of Imperialism (CH, Oct'94) and Mythical Past, Elusive Future (1992), examines how racist thinking dominated 19th- and 20th-century dealings between the West and colonized peoples. Until WW II, the white supremacist view was forthrightly expressed, and white Europeans and Americans--led by elites--took pride in professing racist views of other peoples and rationalizations of imperialistic adventures. During the struggle with Nazism in the 1930s and '40s, and later during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, this white supremacist view became a handicap and was replaced by a perspective arguing the West is not unusual--that racism is an attitude characterizing all peoples. Incidents of discrimination across the globe were publicized by cynical Western authorities. Continuing racist prejudices and practices in the West were seldom discussed by elites from the late 1940s to the '60s, unless there was protest. A "race problem" existed only because non-Europeans challenged their domination. Overt racism became less common, and racism appeared instead in disguises such as the Western sense of moral superiority over countries in the Southern Hemisphere. This book is a welcome addition to the history of racism as part of the foundation of Western development. Notes. All levels. J. R. Feagin University of Florida