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American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate (Violence Prevention and Policy)

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1442202085
ISBN-10: 1442202084
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

America's white racists see themselves as an endangered minority, according to this disturbing look at the white supremacist movement. Simi, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, teams up with Futrell, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, to provide a panorama of the white power movement in its different regional and ideological iterations. With insight and clarity, the authors offer a detailed review of supremacist literature, as well as the role the Internet has played in strengthening the movement. Although occasionally dry, the book is indisputably a powerful and unnerving study of how parents indoctrinate their children to hate and fear minorities, and the role that activities as mundane as concerts, house parties and tattooing can play in the conversion of new recruits into these subcultures. Also helpful is the overview of groups ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to racist skinheads, each of whom have their own distinctive beliefs, social codes and agenda.
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Review

Simi (Univ. of Nebraska, Omaha) and Futrell (UNLV) provide an unprecedented look into communities of white supremacy in the US. Their particular areas of focus are the movement's free spaces, both material and virtual, where white supremacists can safely come together to express their racial views, form hate-centered communities, and recruit new members. Birthday parties, house parties, rock shows, Bible study, Internet groups, and weekend retreats all reveal the startling normality of racial hatred in these communities and make the book compelling for several academic genres. This rich community study explores issues of identity, refuge, inclusion, empowerment, bonding, and division. It also is relevant as a study of a contemporary social movement that seeks survival and change in a world hostile to its beliefs. Further, the book contributes to the study of racial identity and contemporary racism, highlighting the need to continue to examine overt forms of racism in a color-blind society. It is important for its contribution to multiple fields and its compelling readability. Essential. (CHOICE)

Through their revealing and disturbing ethnographic accounts of the activities of white supremacist groups...the authors argue that white supremacist ideas, identity, and pride are cultivated and disseminated through Aryan 'free spaces.' ....The authors bring their academic knowledge of the white power movement to bear on their ethnographic study. Of interest to students and researchers of hate groups and white supremacist activities in America. (Library Journal)

America's white racists see themselves as an endangered minority, according to this disturbing look at the white supremacist movement. Simi, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, teams up with Futrell, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, to provide a panorama of the white power movement in its different regional and ideological iterations. With insight and clarity, the authors offer a detailed review of supremacist literature, as well as the role the Internet has played in strengthening the movement....The book is indisputably a powerful and unnerving study of how parents indoctrinate their children to hate and fear minorities, and the role that activities as mundane as concerts, house parties and tattooing can play in the conversion of new recruits into these subcultures. Also helpful is the overview of groups ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to racist skinheads, each of whom have their own distinctive beliefs, social codes and agenda. (Publishers Weekly)

Pete Simi, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha kept going back, kept trying to get deeper into the mind of the modern American white supremacist. And that's likely why his book, "American Swastika," is such a fascinating read-an unusually lively read, really, considering it's also intended to be an academic look at the subject by an academic. His walk on the wild side not only enriched the sociological insights of the book, but inspired vivid, frightening narratives from his time spent walking with some of this country's most fanatically racist people. (Omaha World-Herald)

American Swastika takes readers into the 'free spaces' of the white-power movement, where members emerge to speak their minds without fear of retribution. Researched and written by Pete Simi and Robert Futrell...the book takes us into the homes of white-power believers, to their rallies, concerts and to children's birthday parties with swastika-shaped cakes. (Las Vegas Weekly)

Your academic friends will find much to learn about the eye-opening subject of hardcore racism in Pete Simi and Robert Futrell's harrowing American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate (Rowman and Littlefield, $19.95). These two young university profs, through first-person accounts and interviews with members of white-supremacy groups, dig deep into the subculture's cracks and crevices, the music and the lifestyle, to tell us what's going on. 'Weapons and race war are consistent topics of crashpad conversation,' they write, a crashpad being a rundown motel or dilapidated apartment around Los Angeles where skinheads gather for days, sometimes weeks, on end. Simi and Futrell don't flinch at anything―the hate-spewing rock bands, the rituals, the Internet propaganda. Swastika isn't preachy; rather, it's a sociological analysis of what happens in those invisible places where hate festers, even at the moment when―and perhaps due to the fact that―a black man resides in the White House. (The Tuscan Weekly)

Simi and Futrell conducted extensive fieldwork and interviews with white power activists and groups between 1996 and 2006. Their impressive data include 89 initial and 94 follow-up interviews, observation in a number of movement spaces and, most unusual, visits to white power activist houses that extended from several days to five weeks. With these rare data, the authors provide an insiders’ look at white power activism. . . . This book needs to be read by anyone interested in white power activism. It is a well-crafted study of the range of social practices and emotions that sustain racial extremism in today’s America. (Contemporary Sociology)

Those not familiar with this pathological world would do well to read the 'inside' look by Simi and Futrell. They are a criminologist and sociologist, respectively, who have used their research skills to see deeper than most of us will ever go into the reality of white supremacist groups. Their on-scene investigation shows us some of the rawness of life within actual white supremacist communities. . . .Simi and Futrell are engaged in ethnographic observation which, given how little is known about these particular communities, provides helpful information. They certainly do not promote white supremacy. . . .The world looks more and more threatening to those who believe in the supremacy of their white group over all others. This book may not show us how to respond, but it surely show us the need to do so. (Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture)

Simi’s observations and interactions reveal his intimate understanding of the research subjects, the world in which they live, and the ideologies that lead them to these disparate world views. . . .Simi and Futrell’s use of ethnographic field data enabled them to move beyond stereotypes regarding the socialization of children. They explore a range of family types from the newly respectable family which attempts to remain mainstream until the race war begins, while hard core and communitarian families socialize their children more directly and thoroughly into stereotypical white power family values. . . .Overall, this book would be a welcome addition for courses on social movements, ethnographic field methods, criminology, deviance, and the sociology of religion as the movement divides itself into a variety of ideologies

(Nova Religio: The Journal Of Alternative And Emergent Religions)

White power adherents are not typically 'out' about their extremist leanings. They straddles the worlds of white power and mainstream society, often publically playing down or hiding their extremist identities. In the past this might have Robert Futrell, a professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Pete Simi, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, been a hindrance. But these days, they thrive in what we call hidden spaces of hate, often online, where they gather to support one another and their cause. (The New York Times)

This is perhaps the most essential resource for understanding the white power movement in the United States. Using harrowing interviews and observations, Simi and Futrell confirm that white supremacy is thriving and give the reader unprecedented access to the 'free spaces' of the movement, where ideology is articulated: birthday parties, punk rock concerts, and rallies. (Library Journal)

An important account of the neo-Nazi White Supremacist movement in the United States. Drawing on extensive field work, including numerous interviews, the authors explain the movement’s various groupings, their 'infrastructure of hate,' their extremist ideologies and agendas, how they radicalise, recruit and indoctrinate their members (including through private homes, 'hate' parties, rituals, music festivals and online), and response measures to effectively counter and marginalise the influence and activities of these militant groups. The appendix includes a valuable guide for academic researchers to make contact and develop rapport with such militants (while avoiding the ethical dilemma of building 'too much' rapport with them) in order to understand their mindsets and activities. (Perspectives on Terrorism)

Even with the historic victory of Barack Obama, the legacy of white supremacy in America is alive and well. This book lays bare the specific groups and particular practices that sustain the extreme forms of the legacy. Don't miss it! (Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary)

If you want to understand the white power movement in the U.S., you must read American Swastika. Pete Simi and Robert Futrell draw on their own observations and interviews as well as the work of previous researchers to produce a compelling, well-researched, and comprehensive examination of white power activism. They skillfully tackle the difficult issue of explaining why this movement has persisted in one form or another for so long. (Betty A. Dobratz, Iowa State University; coauthor of White Power, White Pride)

This book is an eye-opener in several ways, revealing the every day lives of an important element in the U.S. that has power beyond their numbers. Pete Simi and Robert Futrell's data describe real people with real concerns that are too-often dismissed as the lunatic fringe. (James F. Short Jr., Washington State University)
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Product Details

  • Series: Violence Prevention and Policy
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (January 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442202084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442202085
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,096,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good overview of American Neo-Nazis and racists. Thank you for the great on-site research from academics.
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Whether your background is Academic, Student, or just an interested person with no prior background knowledge of the topic, "American Swastika" provides all readers with an excellent and detailed overview of the White Power Movement (WPM) in the United States. The authors' use of firsthand data from their experiences with individuals in the WPM make it a fascinating and quick read (as it reads like a novel at many points). This book gives readers an insider's view into a Social Movement that is otherwise closed off to those that don't share their radical beliefs/opinions/practices. The authors also provide an interesting threat assessment regarding the possibility of domestic terrorist attacks in the United States from home-grown groups such as those discussed in the book. A must read!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really scary but it speaks volumes about the different racist groups today. The KKK isn't the only group out here! There are many more!!
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Pretty decent study of various white supremacist groups. Final chapter felt a bit lacking in terms of addressing the growth of these groups. Reminded me of what a professor of mine called rushed conclusions: "the Miller Time ending." Still, would recommend this book as the interviews with different Aryans is fascinating.
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Format: Hardcover
'American Swastika' is excellent investigative journalism combined with valid sociological observations and incisive psychological insights into those comprising the vile world of HATE. I feel qualified to make this assessment, having operated in this milieu for years - first as a profiteer, and later, as a full-time, paid FBI informant assigned to surveil the world of the racist right. Pete Simi learned about this world one step at a time, and because he's an honorable and fair person, he was able to get permission from various leaders of these groups to actually hang out with the rank-and-file, the hateful souls who populate it. The research compiled by professors Futrell and Simi, juxtaposed with the interviews with 'front-line', self-proclaimed "soldiers" in the Hate Movement, is unlike anything I've yet read. It took GUTS to create this work; being warned by tattooed, violent skinheads that they'll "hunt you down and kill you and your family, if we ever find out you're a cop", would be enough to make most authors abandon their efforts right then and there. Not these guys; they kept their word to their subjects, and the result is this highly informative, rather objective, eye-opening work. While reading 'America Swastika', I truly felt transported back into the realm of these people; the scenes these two authors describe are actually THAT realistic, exactly as it really as, and still is. To me, a worthwhile book on subjects like this is one which doesn't drag (and, believe me, 'American Swastika' does NOT drag!), simultaneously enlightens readers, and is entertaining. That can be a real challenge for a couple of university professors to meet, regardless of their respected professional standing - sometimes, perhaps, BECAUSE of it! But authors Futrell and Simi not only met their challenge, but the book they produced, in my opinion, is one that everyone can learn from, and which no reader will soon forget.
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Great book! Very interesting to see into the lives of the white power extremists. Really interesting!
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if its not for you well it aint, if it is youll like it
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this originally for a class, but have reread it since then. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants a closer look at white power or hate movements in America today. Thorough and gives an accurate look into the lives of some of the lesser known groups. I'd especially recommend this to teachers or professors. Have your students read something that matters!
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