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

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

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by Daniel Levitas
     
 

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September 11, 2001, focused America's attention on the terrorist threat from abroad, but as the World Trade Center towers collapsed, domestic right-wing hate groups were celebrating in the United States. "Hallelu-Yahweh! May the WAR be started! DEATH to His enemies, may the World Trade Center BURN TO THE GROUND!" announced August Kreis of the paramilitary group,

Overview

September 11, 2001, focused America's attention on the terrorist threat from abroad, but as the World Trade Center towers collapsed, domestic right-wing hate groups were celebrating in the United States. "Hallelu-Yahweh! May the WAR be started! DEATH to His enemies, may the World Trade Center BURN TO THE GROUND!" announced August Kreis of the paramilitary group, the Posse Comitatus. "We can blame no others than ourselves for our problems due to the fact that we allow ...Satan's children, called jews (sic) today, to have dominion over our lives."

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.

Timothy McVeigh was executed for killing 168 people when he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, but The Terrorist Next Door goes well beyond the destruction in Oklahoma City and takes readers deeper and more broadly inside the Posse and other groups that comprise the paramilitary right. From the emergence of white supremacist groups following the Civil War, through the segregationist violence of the civil rights era, the right-wing tax protest movement of the 1970s, the farm crisis of the 1980s and the militia movement of the 1990s, the book details the roots of the radical right. It also tells the story of men like William Potter Gale, a retired Army officer and the founder of the Posse Comitatus whose hate-filled sermons and calls to armed insurrection have fueled generations of tax protesters, militiamen and other anti-government zealots since the 1960s.

Written 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 will prove to be the most definitive history of the roots of the American militia movement and the rural radical right ever written.

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)
two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York ANTHONY LEWIS

A detailed and gripping picture...few Americans have any real idea of the hate-filled minds in our country.
From the Publisher

“Authoritative...chilling, detailed and extensively documented.” —Chicago Tribune

“[This] well-researched book reminds us that the bizarre ideas of the radical right are not only dangerous but influential.” —WILLIAM S. MCFEELY, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the biography, Grant and Frederick Douglass.

“This book is indispensable to everyone who cares about the future of America.” —RABBI ARTHUR HERTZBERG, award-winning author of The French Enlightenment and the Jews and a memoir, A Jew in America.

“A detailed and gripping picture...few Americans have any real idea of the hate-filled minds in our country.” —ANTHONY LEWIS, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times columnist.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429941808
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
01/20/2004
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
729,381
File size:
853 KB

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. Levitas has also worked throughout the United States with civil rights, religious, and community groups, as well as law enforcement agencies seeking to respond to bias crimes and hate group activity.


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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The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If politics are looking for terrorists you will find them in the middle east. CONSERVATIVES ARENT TERRORISTS!