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.

The book also traces the history of the right wing tax protest movement and offers the first definitive account of how the radical right preyed on financially troubled farmers during the agricultural crisis of the 1970s and ‘80s.

In detailing these and other developments, Levitas provides a compelling factual narrative while also arguing that the danger posed by the radical right as a social movement goes far beyond the criminality and violence common among its organizers and adherents.

The greatest challenge, he points out, stems from the success that groups like the Posse have had in spreading their ideas from the margins into the political mainstream.

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The Terrorist Next Door is available in paperback and in e-reader formats at Amazon and other online retailers.

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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.