What the Book is About
Rightwing militias and other antigovernment organizations
have received heightened public attention since the Oklahoma City bombing.
While such groups are often portrayed as marginal extremists, the values
they espouse have influenced mainstream politics and culture far more
than most Americans realize. This important volume offers an indepth
look at the historical roots and current landscape of rightwing
populism in the United States. Illuminated is the potent combination
of antielitist rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and ethnic scapegoating
that has fueled many political movements from the colonial period to
the present day.
The book examines the Jacksonians, the Ku Klux Klan, and a host of Cold
War nationalist cliques, and relates them to the evolution of contemporary
electoral campaigns of Patrick Buchanan, the militancy of the Posse Comitatus
and the Christian Identity movement, and an array of millennial sects.
Combining vivid description and incisive analysis, Berlet and Lyons show
numbers of disaffected Americans have embraced rightwing populism
in a misguided attempt to challenge power relationships in U.S. society.
are the dangers these groups pose for the future of our political system
and the hope of progressive social change.
About the Authors
Chip Berlet has
written about right wing movements for over twenty years, with bylines
in The New York Times, Boston Globe, the Progressive, and scores
of other publications. He is senior analyst at Political Research
Associates in Somerville, MA, and editor of Eyes Right! Challenging
the Right Wing Backlash (South End Press, 1995). He has contributed
articles and chapters to several scholarly books and journals and
his media appearances and cites as an expert include Newsweek, National
Public Radio, and Nightline.
Matthew N. Lyons is a
historian, activist, and writer whose work has focused on systems
of oppression and social movements. He is research associate
for the HansberryNemiroff Archival, Educational, and Cultural
Fund, and author of The Grassroots Network: Radical Nonviolence
in the Federal Republic of Germany, 19721985 (Cornell University
Center for International Studies, 1989).