Alt-America The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump

David A. Neiwert, 1956-

Book - 2017

Just as Donald Trump's victorious campaign for the US presidency shocked liberal Americans, the seemingly sudden national prominence of white supremacists, xenophobes, militia leaders, and mysterious "Alt-Right" leaders mystifies many. But the extreme Right has been growing steadily in the US since the 1990s, with the rise of patriot militias. Following 9/11, conspiracy theorists found fresh life; and in virulent reaction to the first black president of the country, militant racists have come out of the woodwork. Nurtured by a powerful right-wing media sector in radio, TV, and online, the Far Right, Tea Party movement conservatives, and Republican activists found common ground - an alternative America that is resurgent, even it has been ignored by the political establishment and mainstream media. Investigative reporter David Neiwert has been tracking extremists for more than two decades, and here he provides a deeply reported and authoritative report on the background, mindset, and growth of Far Right movements across the country. The product of years of reportage, and including the most in-depth investigation of Trump's ties to Far Right figures, this is a crucial book about one of the most disturbing sides of American society.

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2nd Floor 320.533/Neiwert Checked In
London ; New York : Verso 2017.
Main Author
David A. Neiwert, 1956- (author)
Physical Description
456 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • 1. Into the Abyss
  • 2. Alt-America
  • 3. Black Helicopters and Truck Bombs
  • 4. 9/11 and the Dark Invaders
  • 5. A Black President and a Birth Certificate
  • 6. Mad Hatters and March Hares
  • 7. The Return of the Militias
  • 8. The Bundy Pandora's Box
  • 9. Bad Days on the Malheur
  • 10. The Alt-Right Reinvention
  • 11. "Hail Emperor Trump!"
  • 12. The Id Unleashed
  • 13. The Aftermath
  • Afterword: Fascism and Our Future
  • Notes
  • Index
Review by Kirkus Book Review

An alarming, well-researched account of how the far-right extremist underground became empowered in the era of Trump.Journalist Neiwert (Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us, 2015, etc.) takes a long view, noting how "most Americans did not realize that far from going extinct, these groups had been growing and flourishing in recent years." To explain this, he returns to the 1990s, "when the radical right first began to try to mainstream itself as a patriot' and militia movement." The author documents how mainstream conservatives helped legitimize such groups while purportedly staying aloof from their bigotry. Simultaneously, a profitable right-wing media juggernaut fed the incivility and provided a constant stream of propagandistic viewpoints, barely checked following movement-related atrocities like the Oklahoma City or Olympics bombings. While militia culture declined during the Bush years, 9/11 ramped up a "nativist backlash[alleging] that white culture' was under attack in the form of this invasion' of brown faces speaking foreign tongues." As Neiwert notes, Barack Obama's presidency unified the racist right and mainstream conservatism; their denial of his legitimacy inspired the "Birther" movement and, ultimately, Trump's campaign. Concurrently, seemingly trivial online episodes like the misogynist "Gamergate" video game controversy were unifying disparate factions in the alienated, intolerant "Manosphere," communicating through raunchy memes that normalized racism. The author further examines the rise of a young, media-savvy generation of online white supremacists and "academic racists," who connected with Trump's coded appeals to racial grievance. Ultimately, "the interrelated but often disputatious spheres occupied by the followers of these ideologies were united by Donald Trump." The author documents a great deal of violence, committed by those influenced by the universe of bigoted conspiracy theory through which he guides readers. He writes in a clear, cool fashion, aware that this shameful political tale may signal a "potentially dangerous proto-fascist" future, the subject of his epilogue. A prescient discussion of one of the darkest issues facing America today. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.