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Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream Hardcover – May 12, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Zeskind delivers a thorough, if scattered, dossier on white nationalist politics in America from the end of WWII to the present, focusing closely on three plotters on the fringe of the American mainstream: Willis Carto, William Pierce and David Duke. Among the book's dizzying investigations of neo-Confederates, skinheads, survivalists, tax protestors, Second Amendment nuts and anti-Semites, these three men loom largest as the provocateurs and grandfathers of racist politics. Drawing on writings from Oswald Spengler and Francis Parker Yockey, these white nationalists constructed a narrative about the death of Western civilization, where white nationalists are patriotic race warriors hawking their ideas at gun shows, in print and in online forums. With the breadth of an encyclopedia, this book features a staggering number of actors, publications, flashpoints and organizations, such as the Posse Comitatus movement, which denies all of the Constitution's amendments after the 14th, prints community money and seeks independence from ZOG (the Zionist Occupation Government). Zeskind's rigorously researched and eloquent book is a definitive history of white nationalism and contains alarming warnings for a resurgence in racist politics. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Nobody knows more about the movements that spawned the alleged gunmen than Leonard Zeskind, who has spent most of a lifetime observing, analyzing and opposing racism and anti-Semitism in America and abroad. Now he has distilled those hard and dangerous decades of work into Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, a magisterial new book that explains how and why racial hatred became and remains a significant political force in American society.” —Joe Conason, Salon

“Zeskind tracks the white supremacist impulse, as embodied in various groups since the mid-1970s, in chronological fashion. He analyzes every twist, turn and rivalry . . . Readers will be exposed to groups including skinheads, Christian Identity adherents and Ku Kluxers; individuals such as David Duke, Patrick Buchanan and Pat Robertson; and also to ‘cadres’ . . . driven by racism, anti-Semitism, opposition to abortion, antipathy toward homosexuality, hatred of the federal government (and especially the Internal Revenue Service), gun-rights activism, millennial beliefs, anti-immigrant fervor and a taste for Holocaust denial. Given such diversity, if Zeskind had not provided connective tissue showing significant contacts between groups and cross-pollination over time, Blood and Politics would seem merely a compendium of relatively fringe groups and their leaders . . . And yet there is continuity too among the figures Zeskind follows.” —Art Winslow, Los Angeles Times

“Leonard Zeskind’s staggering, painstakingly researched report on the last three decades of American bigotry dramatizes the back story to the recent upsurge in this septic politics . . . Zeskind’s encyclopedic book reveals the shadow history contemporaneous with the march of civil rights and is essential to the understanding of our present moment. Obama’s presidency heralds a new stage in America’s engagement with the color line, but as both Blood and Politics and the recent enlistment in the armies of racial purity attest, nothing in the world is single.” —Michael Washburn, The Boston Globe

“[An] authoritative, readable overview . . . Clearly the best, broadest and deepest historical study of the white nationalist movement yet . . . While it has been in preparation for more than 15 years, the publication of Blood and Politics is timely. America has a black president, and demographers are predicting that whites will cease to be a majority in the U.S. by 2035. Those of us dedicated to a multicultural democracy ignore the seriousness of the white-nationalist threat to domestic peace at our peril. We’re fortunate to have Blood and Politics as a solemn reminder.” —Rick Hellman, Moment

“We are all in Leonard Zeskind’s debt. Exhaustively researched, Blood and Politics is not only a brilliant account of the origins, modes of operation, collaborations, and internecine disputes of white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Holocaust-denier, and anti-Semitic groups in America, but alerts us to the fact that despite—or perhaps because of—significant improvements in race relations and changing demographic patterns, we are likely to witness a resurgence of their activities.” —Drew S. Days III, Professor of Law, Yale University, and former U.S. Solicitor General


“Leonard Zeskind deserves our gratitude for his lifelong commitment to the battle against the international racist underworld. He combines the skill and zeal of the investigative reporter with the shrewd perspective of the historian. In this magisterial work, Zeskind identifies the leaders, politics, and strategies of that dangerous movement with great literary skill—and explains why the perils they represent remain alive in a new century.” —Joe Conason, author of It Can Happen Here


“Leonard Zeskind takes us into a sprawling and shadowy world of racist leaders and their communities to give the definitive account of how racial hatred became a powerful movement in the late twentieth century and what it means for today’s multicultural society. A must-read.” —Kathleen Blee, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh


“An authoritative tour through the shifting currents of the American radical right over the last three decades. Filled with keen insights about the interaction between this movement and historical developments shaping the larger world, Blood and Politics is a prescient warning about a movement that promises to haunt us for generations to come.” —Mark Potok, Director, Intelligence Project, Southern Poverty Law Center


“Wow! Leonard Zeskind’s cogent analysis of the white nationalist movement is breathtaking in scope. From one of our most knowledgeable minds on the subject, Blood and Politics presents the big picture, supported by meticulous detail and analysis, and should be required reading.” —Abby Ferber, Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs


“One of America’s greatest strengths—its diversity—is in danger of being sapped by modern racism. Leonard Zeskind has spent a lifetime studying this danger, and his book is essential to our understanding and response.” —John Shattuck , CEO, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation


“For decades, every journalist and academic reeling from the latest eruption of the far right into national politics has turned first and foremost to Leonard Zeskind. Between the names, dates, and places in his unrivalled archives and the deep understanding forged in more than thirty years of research, activism, and reflection, he sees far more clearly even than the white nationalist movement itself where it has been and where it is going. Blood and Politics is a singular contribution to American history and politics. There will never be—never could be—another book like it.”—Elinor Langer, author of A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America


“For years, Leonard Zeskind has tracked the racist far right, from re-emergence of the Klan to the Oklahoma City bombing, and Blood and Politics is an invaluable guide for anyone seeking to understand how the margins of political life affect the American mainstream. This book is a long awaited event.”—Jim Ridgeway, author of Blood in the Face


“If you care about the future of this nation, non-violence, and armed rebellion, read this remarkably important and ominous book.” — BuzzFlash.com

“Zeskind offers a well-placed warning that the racist right still has plenty of causes left, many wrapped up in the long-simmering nativist, anti-immigration movement.” —Kirkus Reviews


“Zeskind’s rigorously researched and eloquent book is a definitive history of white nationalism and contains alarming warnings for a resurgence in racist politics.” —Publishers Weekly


“Recommended for all libraries.” —Stephen L. Hupp, Library Journal


“An activist who has shadowed white supremacists and anti-Semites for The New York Times and other publications, Zeskind has stuffed a fat bundle of information into 600 pages.” —David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374109036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374109035
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is better suited to electronic format, as the characters that get introduced are often picked up and dropped quickly. A diagram or some kind of timeline would have gone a long way to clarifying the names here. Maybe it's just my limitation as a reader, but I found the author would bring people up and drop them with little reference to time or place, and re-introduce them too casually without referring back to them.

That being said, the author is obviously an expert on the subject, and this book is incredibly useful to have around as a reference. Just could use a few more bells and whistles to make it approachable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a book, explaining the detailed history of White Nationalism and the close links with. US politics and society. It is a very sobering thought and somewhat frightening to think what superficially looks like a mainstream policy is in fact driven by an racially motivated agenda. Populist policy is something that I will now question vigorously. The history of white hate movements, sorry I mean white nationalist movements in the US was riveting in interest and kept my interest throughout.
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Format: Hardcover
_Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement: From the Margins to the Mainstream_ (2009) by Leonard Zeskind provides an interesting history of the emerging white nationalist movement within the United States.

This book considers several important types of groups within the white nationalist movement. First, it should be noted that many of the individuals described are simply gangs of armed thugs with guns. As such they differ little from black, Hispanic, or Asian gangs, or other gangs, and thus the fact that they are white is irrelevant. The more legitimate faces of white nationalism are as follows:

Willis Carto (the respectable side of the movement) who used to operate on two fronts, a lobbying front through the Liberty Lobby and a more scholarly organization the Institute for Historical Review (which I think actually raises interesting questions about war and the assignment of war guilt).

William Pierce (a neo-Nazi who rejects conservativism completely for radical race revolution, sees the holocaust as not only historical fact but as justified in terms of a "new ethic" and calls for the creation of a secret Order to administer a system of white supremacy.

David Duke (a Klansman become "respectable" who advocates a gentler approach to white nationalism featuring open debate on issues, infiltration of politics through mainstream political parties, and separatism).

Pat Buchanan (a mainstream political commentator, a staunch ultra-conservative, and an advocate of isolationist policies and immigration reform).

Several other important figures, movements, and events are discussed in this book.
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9 Comments 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
If you want to read a fairly balanced, as complete-as-it-gets view of the U.S. Racist Right, then this is your book. Trust me, I KNOW: several books on America's Far Right have quoted me, and only in one other case (Professor George Michael's acclaimed biography of Liberty Lobby honcho Willis Carto) did an author contact me for source material, interviews, etc. In THIS case, however, noted author/researcher Leonard Zeskind visited me in Washington, DC in early 2000, just before I went to work for the FBI as a paid informant, assigned to surveil white supremacist groups. We spent an entire day together, both in my office, and at a downtown restaurant, where he and Mark Potok - of the SPLC - interviewed me. Mr. Zeskind was/is genuinely curious about the U.S. Far Right, and he was extremely fair to me; I found him to be both honest and sincere. At the time, I wasn't able to tell him that the FBI had already contacted me and wanted me to work undercover for them, although agents I worked with have since told me that Mr. Zeskind is aware of my work there. I disagree here somewhat with a criticism of Mr. Zeskind as having something of a double standard, insofar as other racist/radical groups on the other side go: that's not the impression I got from this quiet, scholarly gentleman, whose book is, in my view, the most thoroughly-researched of its kind. Having known every major white supremacist from Carto to William Pierce to David Duke to John Tyndall, Nick Griffin, Mark Cotterill, and several of the minor players, both U.S.-based and in Europe, I think I know what I'm talking about here. IMO, this book should be part of any college course on racism, anti-semitism, and how it operates in America and elsewhere. Review submitted on 11-13-2011 by Todd A. Blodgett (ToddBlodgett@hotmail.com)
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Format: Kindle Edition
Pretty darn good. A book about the right wing that is not boring!
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