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Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America Hardcover – April 9, 2018

4.5 out of 5 stars 249 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“[A] gripping study of white power…It is impossible to read the book without recalling more recent events…The book’s explosive thesis: that the white power movement that reached a culmination with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing emerged as a radical reaction to the [Vietnam] war…It is a breathtaking argument, one that treats foreign policy as the impetus for a movement that most people view through the lens of domestic racism…It’s a stunning indictment of official culpability, and Belew constructs her case with forensic care. In doing so, she shows that, while racism is ever with us, policy choices ranging from local police strategies to the furthest reaches of foreign policy create the space for white power to flourish.”Nicole Hemmer, New York Times

“Compelling…Meticulously researched and powerfully argued, Belew’s book isn’t only a definitive history of white-racist violence in late-20th-century America, but also a rigorous meditation on the relationship between American militarism abroad and extremism at home…Bring the War Home is a grim and sobering read―and, for many, it may arrive as a much-needed and troubling revelation: The sheer size of white-power extremism since Vietnam is frightening…The power of Belew’s book comes, in part, from the fact that it reveals a story about white-racist violence that we should all already know.”Patrick Blanchfield, The Nation

“[Belew] presents a gorgeously rendered account of the white power movement in this country that reveals its symbiotic character, one that both feeds on mainstream angst and stimulates it to new heights.”Robert L. Tsai, Los Angeles Review of Books

“This is a work of fierce intelligence. In a breathtaking and wholly convincing manner, Belew shows how white power activists used their view of the Vietnam War to advance every element of their reactionary agenda and to justify domestic terrorism. A book of signal importance and urgency, it provides a haunting vantage point on contemporary American political culture.”Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America

“Fascinating…Belew connects seemingly disparate events like the killings at Greensboro, the persecution of Vietnamese fishers in Texas in the early 1980s, and the siege at Ruby Ridge. She shows how hatred of the federal government, fears of communism, and racism all combined in white-power ideology and explains why our responses to the movement have long been woefully inadequate.”Rebecca Onion, Slate

“Superbly comprehensive…supplants all journalistic accounts of America’s resurgent white supremacism.”Pankaj Mishra, The Guardian

“Kathleen Belew’s vital new book begins in the belly of a Huey helicopter somewhere over South Vietnam. From there she follows with unflinching honesty the violence that violence begat, from the tiny cadre of veterans who decided to bring the war home through Ruby Ridge and Waco to the horror of the Oklahoma City terrorist attack. Over the years I’ve read any number of exemplary histories. Never have I read a more courageous one.”Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age

Bring the War Home is a tour de force. An utterly engrossing and piercingly argued history that tracks how the seismic aftershocks of the Vietnam War gave rise to a white power movement whose toxic admixture of violent bigotry, antigovernmental hostility, and racial terrorism helped set the stage for Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, and, yes, the presidency of Donald Trump.”Junot Díaz

“This is a troubling book for many reasons, not just because of the scope of the white power network it reveals, though that is both disturbing and an important corrective to the insistence that white terrorists are ‘lone wolves’ who act spontaneously and independently of one another…[It] raises questions about how the elements of United States culture that valorize violence and draw ready distinctions between the deserving ‘us’ and the less deserving ‘them’ (or between people and animals, to use an even more recent variation on the theme) contribute to mass shootings…Belew treats the trajectory of white power victimhood as a shift from attacks on the other to a declaration of war against the federal government. It appears, in that sense, to be a rejection of the constitutional order.”Elizabeth Dale, Jotwell

“Alarming and meticulously researched.”Wajahat Ali, NYR Daily

About the Author

Kathleen Belew spent ten years researching and writing Bring the War Home, examining previously classified FBI files and vivid personal testimonies and letters. She is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Chicago and has appeared on Fresh Air, Weekend Edition, and CBS News. Her work featured prominently in the PBS Frontline documentary “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis.”

Product details

  • ASIN : 0674286073
  • Publisher : Harvard University Press; 1st Edition (April 9, 2018)
  • Language: : English
  • Hardcover : 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780674286078
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0674286078
  • Item Weight : 2.9 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 249 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
249 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Gareth Howes
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 9, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars White Power in America readying to start Civil War is not fiction.
Reviewed in Canada on October 29, 2020
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