We all remember the image: a would-be Viking “shaman” clad in horns, fur, feathers, and Norse tattoos storming the U.S. Capitol on 6 January 2021. Hundreds of White supremacists waving Confederate flags and brandishing Nazi insignia joined him in attempting to hunt down legislators in an effort to halt the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election. In her riveting new study Hitler’s Northern Utopia, Despina Stratigakos takes us beyond the noxious theatrics of the Capitol insurrection to the horrifying reality of policies and plans imagined and partly realized by the regime of Adolf Hitler as it too indulged fantasies of connection to the Nordic past. Hitler and Heinrich Himmler’s SS officials were especially smitten with the idea of genealogical descent from Viking warriors, whom they exalted as a superior race. Moreover, they envied Norwegians as a people who could claim a direct genetic line from the...

You do not currently have access to this content.