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Encyclopedia of Modern American Extremists and Extremist Groups: Hardcover – August 30, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up-This exhaustive reference covers the activities of extremists within the U.S. since the 1950s. Atkins does not include acts of foreign terrorists, thereby excluding the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. His definition of extremism is "the advocacy of extreme positions by movements, groups, and organizations" and includes political, religious, economic, and social extremes; three-quarters of the entries focus on the years since 1980. Included are radical groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, PETA, and the American Indian Movement; key figures including David Koresh and Timothy McVeigh; and events such as the Waco Siege and the Ruby Ridge Incident. The many cross-references allow researchers to trace numerous facets of each subject. As one of the few in-depth sources available on this topic, this work will be an oft-consulted addition to reference collections.
Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

An academic librarian has brought together information on a wide range of political, religious, economic, and social extremism in the U.S. over the past half century, with particular emphasis on the last two decades. According to the introduction, an extremist movement, group, or individual is one who pursues "policies or practices outside the societal norm," often through violence. The extremist agenda transcends personal gain and seeks to change the status quo. Although the focus of the book is on current American-developed extremism, links to Canadian and European movements are noted as well as roots earlier in the century. Foreign terrorists operating in the U.S. are excluded.

The 275 entries, varying from 200 to 1,500 words, cover leaders, ideas, organizations, and tactics. The largest category of groups and individuals advocates a transformation of the government. These include the Aryan Nations, Kathy Boudin, Ted Kaczynski, and the Michigan Militia. The second largest is religious extremism, followed by economic and social extremism practiced by Earth First! and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among others. Reflecting the time period that is covered, most of the movements have a radical right orientation. The criminal and violent activities of the groups, the internal conflicts, and the shifting of allegiances between organizations and individuals are described. Birth and death dates, family background, motivation, education, and occupation of the individuals are provided when known. Several entries, such as Animal rights movement and Anti-abortion movement, provide a broad perspective. A list of suggested readings for each entry, current through 2001, directs the user to further information. Cross-references and black-and-white photos enhance the work, which concludes with a 13-page chronology of events and a selected bibliography (including some Internet sources).

While other books, such as Encyclopedia of White Power (AltaMira, 2000), cover specific aspects of extremism, this work offers a more comprehensive survey. It will be useful in high-school, public, and academic libraries. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood (August 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313315027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313315022
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,105,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The Libertarian Party was included in this encyclopedia. I checked it out at a public library. Now, while it qualifies under the Author's contention that extremist parties are 'deviations from the normal' (my paraphrase), it shows the uselessness of such a definition of extremism.

The Libertarian Party has never advocated the overthrow of the constitution, any state constitution, or any armed paramilitary activities. At most Libertarians may use their constitutional right to arm themselves, but it is on an individual basis without ANY organization by the party.

The inclusion of the Libertarian Party makes the whole work suspect.
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