The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right

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The Terrorist Next Door reveals the men behind far right groups like the Posse Comitatus -- Latin for "power of the county" -- and the ideas that inspired their attempts to bring about a racist revolution in the United States.0Written by Daniel Levitas, a national expert on the origins and activities of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, The Terrorist Next Door is painstakingly researched and includes rich detail from official documents (including the FBI), private archives, and confidential sources never ...
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The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right

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Overview

The Terrorist Next Door reveals the men behind far right groups like the Posse Comitatus -- Latin for "power of the county" -- and the ideas that inspired their attempts to bring about a racist revolution in the United States.0Written by Daniel Levitas, a national expert on the origins and activities of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, The Terrorist Next Door is painstakingly researched and includes rich detail from official documents (including the FBI), private archives, and confidential sources never before disclosed. In detailing these and other developments, The Terrorist Next Door is the most definitive history of the roots of the American militia movement and the rural radical right ever written.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The militia movement burst into the consciousness of Americans with the Oklahoma City bombing, but hate groups have a long, shameful lineage in America. In this detailed, provocative examination, Levitas focuses on the ideas of William Potter Gale, who, despite Jewish roots, became one of the progenitors of contemporary hate ("If a Jew comes near you, run a sword through him," he told radio listeners in 1982). Gale adapted the idea of the Posse Comitatus, based on a little-known 19th-century law, to spread his notion of the need for citizen militias to defend whites. But, as Levitas, an expert on the radical right, shows, Gale is just one in a long line of racists who have used American ideas and language (such as freedom, rights and private property) to disseminate their message, which often finds a home with the alienated, sparked by specific events such as the shootouts at Ruby Ridge and Waco in the 1990s. Perhaps most disturbingly, Levitas makes a strong argument that these groups have a broad-based "weak sympathy" in numbers that far exceed their small active membership. He also shows how state and local governments have been reluctant to act against these groups, either out of sympathy or in an effort to keep the spotlight away from them. But as Levitas emphasizes, Oklahoma City and the hate groups' cheering for the September 11 attacks demonstrate that these groups will be ignored at our peril. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 18) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A civil-rights activist surveys the history of the far-right militias and concludes that we shouldn't underestimate the appeal of bigotry, especially during economic downturns. Levitas focuses at first on a paramilitary movement, Posse Comitatus, founded by William Gale, who died in 1988 after a long career spewing racial and anti-Semitic bile. Levitas establishes that Gale himself was of Jewish descent, lied about his military career, and found a way to be absent when physical danger was imminent. Gale is just one of many hard-right leaders whose ugly stories Levitas tells. We hear about Robert Welch (John Birch Society founder), Robert DePugh (the Minutemen), Richard Butler, Henry Lamont "Mike" Beach, James Wickstrom, and others, including the far more notorious Randy Weaver, David Koresh, and Timothy McVeigh. Levitas's research is exhaustive (he appends more than 100 pages of endnotes and a 34-page timeline), and he does an admirable job of charting the growth of these groups, establishing interrelationships among them, and showing how they adapt their messages to the political climate. For example, during the farm crisis in the 1980s (when foreclosures were on the nightly news), posses recruited heavily from among angry farmers. Levitas describes in detail some of the bloodier encounters between militias and law enforcement agencies. Although he includes Ruby Ridge and Waco, he tells more about lesser known firefights, like the 1983 shootout with Gordon Kahl that left dead a number of federal agents and police. (Kahl was eventually killed in another shootout a few months later.) Levitas is not a disinterested (or particularly eloquent) historian: he labels Kahl's killing "fittingretribution," employs sic liberally when quoting ungrammatical texts from hate groups, and routinely reminds us that he thinks these organizations are populated by ignorant, dangerous bigots. He notes that their appeal remains wide among Southern white men. Thorough research, adequate writing, ominous message. (16 pp. b&w photographs, not seen)
Library Journal
Levitas proffers a comprehensive look at far-right movements in the United States, tracking their ideological roots back to the Middle Ages. In addition to detailing the histories of hate groups such as the KKK and White Citizens' Council, Levitas pays significant attention to the surging numbers of paramilitary antigovernment militias since the 1960s.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312291051
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/23/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 10.34 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Levitas has written widely about racist, anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups and has testified as an expert witness in American and Canadian courts since 1986. His expertise includes such areas as racist violence and the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, the Skinhead movement, Aryan prison gangs, crossburning, and the rural Posse Comitatus. He also has worked throughout the United States with civil rights, religious and community groups, and law enforcement agencies seeking to respond to bias crimes and hate group activity.

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Table of Contents

1. Hell's Victories 1
2. Family Roots 11
3. Hollywood Bolsheviks 24
4. The Enemy Within 32
5. Black Monday 38
6. Philosopher, Statesman, and Chief 43
7. The Little Rock Crisis 47
8. Vicious and Desperate Men 52
9. Legislating Redemption: The Posse Comitatus Act Becomes Law 57
10. From Jew to Reverend Gale 61
11. Birchers and Minutemen 66
12. Flags, Tents, Skillets, and Soldiers 74
13. Anglo-Saxons Triumphant 79
14. The Ministry of Christ Church 92
15. The Conjurer's Circle 97
16. Volunteer Christian Posses 108
17. The Posse Blue Book 113
18. The Posse Rides Wisconsin 121
19. The Posse and the FBI 130
20. The Spirit of Vigilantism 139
21. Badges and Stars 149
22. The Hoskins Estate 154
23. Spud Shed 159
24. Farm Strike! 168
25. Tractorcade 177
26. No Substitute for Knowledge 183
27. Tax Protester 192
28. Civil Disorder 201
29. AAM Split 210
30. Kahl and His Courier 217
31. Snake Oil for Sale 223
32. Jim Wickstrom's Main Man 232
33. A Domestic Dispute 238
34. Neoconservatives and the Grand Wazir 243
35. Soft-pedaling Hate 256
36. The Deadfall Line 265
37. Farmers Abandoned 278
38. An Enemy Government 284
39. Militia Madness 301
40. The Road from Oklahoma City 317
Epilogue 335
Acknowledgments 343
Ancestors and Descendants of William Potter Gale 347
Reader's Timeline 349
Appendix I The Posse Comitatus: An Annotated Bibliography 383
Appendix II Suppression of Insurrection and Civil Disorder: From Shays' Rebellion to the Civil War 389
Appendix III Congressional Approval of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 392
Abbreviations to Sources 397
Endnotes 399
Index 509
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