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Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism Paperback – June 27, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books; Advance Reader's Copy edition (June 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822330717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822330714
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nazi skinheads and other groups proclaiming white supremacy represent a disturbing and frightening challenge to those advocating toleration and equality for all races. Historian of religion Gardell (In the Name of Elijah Muhammad) draws on interviews with white supremacist leaders to provide a startling and revealing view of many of these groups and their religious motivations. He contends that the increasing multiculturalism in the United States has led these groups to seek a racial purity that can be found only in pagan cultures. According to Gardell, individuals in these groups become religious racists when they claim that the Divine created the elements of an ancient, pure race. Gardell shows that pagan Nordic culture provides white supremacists with a model of legendary times in which the Aryan race was uncontaminated by the evils of modern global society. Thus, groups such as Wodan's Kindred, the Odinist Fellowship and the Church of Jesus Christ, Christian/Aryan Nations, see themselves as heroes whose task is to restore the lost purity of this bygone era. Gardell argues that members of these groups cannot be dismissed as hopeless dreamers; he calls them "romantic men armed with guns and determination" who have been throughout history a "dangerous species." Although Gardell's academic tone and sometimes torturous prose make for slow reading, his well-researched book offers never-before-seen glimpses of the visions and goals of racist pagans.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Gods of the Blood will stand as the definitive work on white racist neopaganism in the United States, a movement virtually invisible until now. Mattias Gardell has gained remarkable access to this secretive religious subculture, mapping its feuds, factions, and rivalries."—Michael Barkun, author of Religion and the Racist Right

Gods of the Blood represents the culmination of the author's tireless fieldwork among America's radical right: race activists of every description, denizens of the occult underground, and adherents of a variety of small oppositional religio-political belief systems throughout the United States. Never before has a scholar had the means, the determination, or the unparalleled access Mattias Gardell has been accorded in the American radical right.”—Jeffrey Kaplan, author of the Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Cwn_Annwn on November 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
If your looking for a book that covers Asatru/Odinism from an academic/sociological point of view as this book is marketed as being then you will disappointed. 70% or more of this book is about Christian Identity, The Church of the Creator, historical revisionists, the KKK, Militias, Neo-Nazis, Anton Lavey and the Church of Satan, and other random occult groups. I was also told by one of the Odinists profiled in this book that the author misrepresented himself claiming to be the leader of a Scandinavian Asatru organization, even wearing a big Thors Hammer around his neck when he introduced himself.

The most telling thing about this book is the photos section. You have on one page a kid who wouldn't look out of place at an SCA event, or Renfaire, dressed in Viking garb and on the opposite page a picture of a group of skinheads giving the Hitler salute. Another page has a woman standing next to a Viking totem and on the opposite page three people from Aryan Nations standing in front of a swastika flag. So the association that this book is trying to make is hardly subtle. There are also pics of William Pierce, Ernst Zundell, and more than one from Aryan Nations. People like the man who wrote this book are a real Freudian delight finding Hitler and Nazism under every rock.

It gets even better though. In the last chapter he tries make an association with Odinism and Al-Queda/Terrorism, even saying "the unfolding terrorist scenario well matches the wet dreams of Aryan militants". The way things are now any unapologetic expression of white culture or soveriegnty is equated with Nazism or potential terrorism. At the rate we are going within a few years anybody that likes to read Tolkien or Norse Mythology, or listens to classical music will be a suspected Nazi or terrorist.
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40 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Bear on September 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
The prose, while difficult is not a real obstacle to this text. Primarily this book is not about paganism, Asatru, or those communities, rather it is about how the trappings of these things that have been co-opted by White Separatists in North America. The bulk of the text is used to establish the context of how this has come about. With so many Americans having no real knowledge of the White Separatist movement it is important for the author to explain the progression of Ariosophy and later Christian Identity into the realm of racists adopting Asatru trappings esp. those of the 'folkish' type.

By the last third, when Gardell really gets into the modern racist/pagan crossover the reader should understand that these are not your typical pagans. These are a group of ideologically inbred folk who are seeking to escape the faith they can not justify and replace it with something that better fits their ideals. Let's be honest, "Love those that hate you," is harder than hell to justify if you hate everyone not like you. So the adoption of a form of Asatru as, 'the religion of the Aryan people,' is easy to understand. The in had been around for a long time in the form of the racialist or more folkish Asatru and Odinians like Edred Thorsson.

For this I must say that I found the presentation of Edred Thorsson's position to be sympathetic. Gardell apparently just let Thorsson talk about his perspective, one that has been presented elsewhere by Edred, often in his own books, and quoted him. Thorsson has long held that individuals should honor the gods and goddesses of their own ancestors. This position, while having a certain ethnic-heritage logic is not one that lends itself to the principles of liberal tolerance that we so often hear from the pagan community.
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53 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The author of "Gods of the Blood" is a scholar in the history of religions at Stockholm University. With this background one might expect to find a wealth of intellectual and spiritual insights in a study of this sort. No such luck. Instead what we get is basically a warmed-over Marxist/materialist interpretation of marginal pagan religious groups, with some weakly formulated sociological analysis thrown in to please other branches of the academic establishment. The end result is both predictable and shallow. Starting with a long discussion of racism in America, none of which has anything to do with paganism at all, the book then catalogs a variety of figures involved in contemporary Norse pagan groups.
Interestingly, the people discussed here who qualify as "white supremacists" or "extreme racists" are ultimately dualistic Christians at root, not pagans. They invariably come out of anti-pagan backgrounds, whether Christian Identity or Church of the Creator, and their adoption of paganism is just the latest window dressing for their core ideology, which has little or nothing to do with paganism per se. Take, for example, the prime movers of "racist paganism," the 14 Words/Wotansvolk crowd. The main personalities involved (David and Katja Lane) both come from a militant Christian Identity/KKK background, a fact which the author misleadingly downplays. Should it come as any surprise then, that they also supplied the book's cover photo of a giant burning cross (taken at Aryan Nations, a hardcore Christian racist compound)? The fact that this image was chosen as the cover illustration for the entire volume says a lot about the flawed and deceptive nature of this book.
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