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

by Daniel Levitas

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!” exulted 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 today, to have dominion over our lives (sic).”  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 make up the paramilitary right.  It 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 carefully researched and includes rich detail from official documents (including the FBI), private archives and confidential sources never before disclosed.  Among other things, Levitas explains how the racist and anti-Semitic campaigns of segregationists in the 1950s and  ‘60s gained ground in the Cold War climate that polarized politics following World War II.

Reviews & Praise

Praise from Coretta Scott King

“September 11th 2001 has heightened awareness of the threat posed by violent, anti-American groups in other nations. Lest we forget, the terrorist infrastructure that contributed to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 is still a force in our society. Daniel Levitas has written a timely and compelling book that reveals the origins and poisonous ideology of radical right organizations and their leaders at work in America. The Terrorist Next Door is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of hate groups, and it should be required reading for everyone who is concerned about this serious threat to our security and our democracy.”


— Coretta Scott King

Praise from 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.”


– Publishers Weekly

Praise from William S. McFeely

“Daniel Levitas’s well-researched book reminds us that the bizarre ideas of the radical right are not only dangerous in their own right, but in this fearful time, dangerously influential.” –  William S. McFeely, historian and author of the... read more

Praise from Booklist

With so much attention focused on international terrorism, this book hits closer to home with an eye-opening look at potential domestic terrorist threats. Levitas explores the historic roots of Far Right hate groups in the U.S., how they have developed and evolved,... read more

Praise from Anthony Lewis

“Despite Oklahoma City, few Americans have any real idea of the hate-filled minds in our country: anti-Semites and racists, people gripped by the belief that a Communist conspiracy has taken over the Government. In The Terrorist Next Door, Daniel Levitas has... read more

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Read from the book

The first chapter of The Terrorist Next Door is now available online at the New York Times website.