Nazis, Communists, Klansmen and Others on the Fringe: Political Extremism in America

Nazis, Communists, Klansmen and Others on the Fringe: Political Extremism in America

by John George, Laird M. Wilcox
     
 

The freedoms guaranteed by our Bill of Rights have allowed a simmering subculture of political fringe groups to develop and even to flourish in America, as they have in no other nation. These radical associations - sometimes dangerous, sometimes merely quirky - illuminate a dark part of the American psyche. In this encyclopedic work, John George and Laird Wilcox…  See more details below

Overview

The freedoms guaranteed by our Bill of Rights have allowed a simmering subculture of political fringe groups to develop and even to flourish in America, as they have in no other nation. These radical associations - sometimes dangerous, sometimes merely quirky - illuminate a dark part of the American psyche. In this encyclopedic work, John George and Laird Wilcox present a thorough and fair assessment of extremist groups on the periphery of the American political system. The authors begin by surveying the history of the extremist trend in America prior to 1960. They then delineate the general characteristics of extremism on both ends of the political spectrum, relate extremism to constitutional principles, and analyze the factors that motivate fringe-group members. The bulk of the book is devoted to an in-depth discussion of more than forty separate groups from the extreme right and left. The authors examine each group's history, beliefs, and current activities. The book concludes with a fascinating appendix on the use of fake quotes and fabricated documents, a common ploy of many extremist organizations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In four essays followed by short but detailed profiles of more than 35 extremist groups on the left and right, the authors survey the history of extremism in America. Extremism, they argue in bland but clear prose, is less a matter of ideology than an ideological style consisting of such traits as the advocacy of double standards and a Manichaean world view. They survey the motivations of extremists before launching into their profiles, which should prove a useful resource for scholars and students. However, a few of the entries, such as the one on the Communist Party USA, are outdated, and the authors should have better delineated which groups continue to be active, since some of those listed are not. An intriguing appendix catalogues fabricated documents and fake quotes; several are attributed to Lenin. George ( They Never Said It ) is professor of political science at the University of Central Oklahoma; Wilcox assembled a collection of extremist literature now housed at the University of Kansas. (Dec.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This survey of American extremism, right and left, cries out for editing. The authors have seemingly thrown in all the material that was at hand, some useful and much tangential and distracting. Meaningful details and research are intermingled higgledy-piggledy with feeble history, banal analysis, and outright sloppiness, and the result is a shapeless mass of information. The bulk of the book is a series of descriptions of specific extremist groups, and its selling point would be that it includes both ends of the spectrum. But the book's digressions and scattershot quality undermine its value both as reference work and as reading material. Libraries would do better with books treating either end of the spectrum more systematically--for instance, Mari Jo Buhle and others' Encyclopedia of the American Left ( LJ 6/15/90) and the Anti-Defamation League's Extremism on the Right: A Handbook (A.D.L., 1988).-- Timothy Christenfeld, Columbia Univ.
Booknews
The authors delineate the characteristics of extremism and extremists, and summarize the pre-1960 historical background of American extremist movements. They discuss conspiracy theories and their validity, offer insight on what motivates extremists, and discuss a number of contemporary groups on the "far left" and "far right," drawing principally on personal contacts and the groups' own writings. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780879756802
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
11/25/1991
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.37(d)
Lexile:
1400L (what's this?)

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