Customer Reviews: Harvest Of Rage: Why Oklahoma City Is Only The Beginning
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on May 28, 2001
Understanding why Timothy McVeigh acted as he did is beyond most people. Similarly, most urban Americans know little of the "Republic of Texas", the militia movements, the "common-law courts" and sundry other manifestations of rural anger and paranoia. To a European like myself it is even more incomprehensible.
I chanced on this book when I was in a bookstore in Champaign, IL and heard the author speaking. I am glad that chance meeting took place as reading this book has given me more understanding of the American rural mind (or at least a portion of it) than anything else that I have read on the subject.
Joel Dyer is the editor of the Boulder Weekly and is a sensitive editor well tuned to all his readers' shades of opinion. It is all too easy for people to dismiss these more extreme beliefs as those belonging to wackos, weirdos and lunatics. Dyer has at least treated adherents of these views with respect and done them the courtesy of listening to them and analyzing the underlying causes of their frustration, resentment and seething anger.
He presents a fairly convincing picture of why those who are tied to agriculture are so paranoid about government in general and the federal government in particular. He explains patiently and convincingly why there is a feeling of desperation. He shows how for many people desperate times call for desperate measures and how these people have sought to rationalize and justify their actions. Dyer is understanding while not approving of the aims or means employed to achieve the ends.
It would be easy to descend into simple mockery and condemnation of extremists. Whilst Dyer concludes that extreme beliefs and actions are wrong headed, his respectful analysis acknowledges the colossal pressures facing these people. He points out the urgent need to do something about their plight. His non-judgmental fact gathering has allowed him access to people whose voices are rarely heard other than through their most strident and extreme mouthpieces.
Dyer concludes that America is sitting on a powder keg. Unless governments heed their rising voices, then we can expect the Oklahoma bombing to be only the first of many large scale outrages designed to force people to pay attention to a neglected section of the community.
The style of this book, as befits an editor, is journalistic. However, Dyer recognizes the value of his research for those with more scholarly interests and there is a susbstantial section of notes and references at the end to allow those interested to further research the issues.
A worthwhile and sobering read.
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on May 10, 2000
The best part of this book is how the author did his research--out in the field knocking on doors and talking to people, the way it should be done. He gets so far inside that one of the guys involved in the Republic of Texas standoff awhile back called him--while the whole thing was going down! That is getting inside to do the story! I'm not sure I totally agree with his thesis of stress being the main reason that the far right is gaining so many adherents, but he certainly backs up his theory with evidence. The author also presents a chilling story on the Oklahoma City Bombing that I guarantee you haven't heard--God knows the jury didn't hear it. Not only did I like this book, I'd certainly consider reading anything else Joel Dyer has written. A good book.
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VINE VOICEon February 2, 2004
This book opens up a lot of feeling for those who over the last two decades have lost everything and have attempted to find a reason, a cause and an enemy, sadly.
Anyone dealing with and wanting to understand the movement that has effected millions in our society must read this book. I recommend this to our state and national leaders. Dyer writes in such a balanced way and with tremendous care for those who have become caught up in the anger that exemplifies an occassionally growing portion of our society.
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I have spent my life in government (30 years) and studying the causes of revolution and instability, and I would sum up the core insight as this: violent anger is spawned by unfairness and feelings of helplessness combined with a loss of faith in "authority" or existing mechanisms for conflict resolution.

This book joins a growing body of literature that I have been exploring that suggests that America is losing its mind as a nation, is fragmenting in multiple ways including states planning for secession, divides between rural and urban, increased ethnic violence especially among poor whites, and so on. There is also a growing literature on government ineptness if not actual mafeasance and betrayal of the public trust.

In terms of details, this book is persuasive in documenting either a federal cover-up or massive federal incompetence. The suspects not interviewed, the suspects blocked from testifying, it all adds up to the federal government having a story line that is not supported by the facts.

I just finished watching Gandhi for the 20th or so time as background to writing an article on Human Intelligence (HUMINT), and I fear for America. We have dumbed down the population and betrayed multiple demographic elements of the population is ways that will have consequences. The Obama Borg Administration being almost identical to the Bush-Cheney Borg Administration is certain to make the situation worse.

Other books I recommend:
Rage of the Random Actor: Disarming Catastrophic Acts And Restoring Lives
Someone Would Have Talked: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Conspiracy to Mislead History
An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King, New and Updated Edition
9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, Fourth Edition
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War
The Working Poor: Invisible in America
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders
The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy)
Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids
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on October 5, 2000
I found Dyer's book to be the most informative and insightful work I've found on the the "milita" movement in rural America. Mr Dyer, in stark contrast to most other work in this area, left most preconcieved biases on the issues out and provides for the reader a detailed and factually grounded work on aspects of the orign, philosophy, and psychology of the rural milita movement. I would recommend this work for those wanting to come to a better understanding of this phenomena in Ameirca.
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on May 10, 2013
The author is an editor and thus subject to the conceit of manufacturing scenarios which could not pass the test of solid research. I could only make it into part two, Conspiracy, before giving up trying to read this windy editorial which tried to create conspiratorial connections between the Bible, the John Birch Society, and various farmers associations. This is the kind of stuff one would expect to find at Alex Jones's website. Truly awful.
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on May 27, 1998
Dyer's book talks a great deal about problems that rural people have undergone since the farm crisis of the early 1980's. He talks about how this culture has reacted to the destruction of their farming way of life and how this has resulted in much of the militia movement. He does rural people a great service in teaching readers about the human scars that the destruction of family farms left. Bravely, he discusses much of the economic consolidation of rural farms by the huge agricultural companies and lenders. However, he does stop short of condemning the system in its entirety, as much of the people in rural areas have, and dismisses much of they say as "conspiracy theories" as he provides an entire chapter "a grain of truth" validating much of what they say. This diminishes the credibility of the book to some degree as he is not clear exactly what he means by "conspiracy". Also, Dyer seems to take as given that the Fed govt has been hijacked by corporations, and not itself a active participant.
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on February 22, 1998
Having grown up in rural South Dakota and still having relatives who live and farm there, I think that Joel Dyer has done a service to them and to the people who care about farmers. I also think he points out quite correctly that disenfrancisement can and does lead to organized violence. I worry about the vision of the leaders of the anti- groups and see more than a hint of facism in their teachings and pronouncements. Additionally, and related to this but not covered by Joel Dyer is the possibility of gaining new converts to the anti- crowd because of the new laws regarding siezure of property, especially when the person losing the property has done no wrong, only rented to the wrong person or allowed access to the wrong person. More and more people will be drawn into the movement as the government cracks down, as usual, on the innocent. To undermine this growing movement, the gov't should francise more farmers, relax seizure laws and give people some say back into their lives. However, like most governments and history has shown, gov't will not give up control without a fight.
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on April 19, 2001
This book is one of the few factual and coherent analysis offered about the new domestic terrorist movement in the United States, and prospects of future civil war in the US. One of the other coherent analysis I've seen came from the ICFI's, a socialist organization, web site. Of special interest to me were Dyer's observations on the fine but thin line between progressive and reactionary movements, and Dyer's serious consideration of the effects of the dramatic growth of economic (and hence social) inequality. Also of interest is how the economically, social and politically disenfranchized often turn to the ultra-right when no real progressive political opposition exists. Even wondered what form and face emergent fascist movements might take in the US? Then take a look arround. This book also shows that a dire need exists in the US for a real (definately NOT the Green party, which is happily lining up with the reactionaries) political alternatives.
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on July 4, 2009
This book presents a wealth of startling statistics about the Farm Crisis of the 1980's. Most moving to me were the number of suicides and the apparent orchestration by the federal government under Reagan's term of kicking farmers off their land.

While the author predicts that the militia violence (rooted in the festering of disenfranchised farmers) will only get worse, time has shown another picture -- a deadened silence across the land. Big business continues its domination of ag and the remaining farmers are hanging in there.

Time will tell how these problems get resolved, but Dyer's book is a great primer on the subject.
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