Cover image for The terrorist next door : the militia movement and the radical right
The terrorist next door : the militia movement and the radical right
Levitas, Daniel.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
viii, 520 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HN90.R3 L47 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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September 11, 2001, focused America's attention on the terrorist threat from abroad, but as the World Trade Center towers collapsed, domestic right-wing hate groups were celebrating in the United States. "Hallelu-Yahweh! May the WAR be started! DEATH to His enemies, may the World Trade Center BURN TO THE GROUND!" announced August Kreis of the paramilitary group, the Posse Comitatus. "We can blame no others than ourselves for our problems due to the fact that we allow ...Satan's children,called jews (sic) today, to have dominion over our lives."

The Terrorist Next Door reveals the men behind far right groups like the Posse Comitatus - Latin for "power of the county" -- and the ideas that inspired their attempts to bring about a racist revolution in the United States.

Timothy McVeigh was executed for killing 168 people when he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, but The Terrorist Next Door goes well beyond the destruction in Oklahoma City and takes readers deeper and more broadly inside the Posse and other groups that comprise the paramilitary right. From the emergence of white supremacist groups following the Civil War, through the segregationist violence of the civil rights era, the right-wing tax protest movement of the 1970s, the farm crisis of the 1980s and the militia movement of the 1990s, the book details the roots of the radical right. It also tells the story of men like William Potter Gale, a retired Army officer and the founder of the Posse Comitatus whose hate-filled sermons and calls to armed insurrection have fueled generations of tax protesters, militiamen and other anti-government zealots since the 1960s.

Written by Daniel Levitas, a national expert on the origins and activities of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, The Terrorist Next Door is painstakingly researched and includes rich detail from official documents (including the FBI), private archives and confidential sources never before disclosed. In detailing these and other developments, The Terrorist Next Door will prove to be the most definitive history of the roots of the American militia movement and the rural radical right ever written.

Author Notes

Daniel Levitas has written widely about racist, anti-Semitic, and neo-Nazi groups, and has testified as an expert witness in American and Canadian courts since 1986. He also has worked throughout the United States with civil rights, religious, and community groups, and law enforcement agencies seeking to respond to bias crimes and hate group activity

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

With so much attention focused on international terrorism, this book hits closer to home with an eye-opening look at potential domestic terrorist threats. Levitas explores the historic roots of Far Right hate groups in the U.S., how they have developed and evolved, and how the government has responded or failed to respond to this potent threat from within. Levitas traces the virulent racial hatred of these groups to similar sentiments in Europe during the Middle Ages; through U.S. slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction; during World War II; and through desegregation and the civil rights movement. He also traces the metamorphosis of various groups, including the Citizens' Council, Ku Klux Klan, and John Birch Society, detailing their bizarre theories of racial superiority and escalating violence. Levitas notes the groups' efforts to broaden their appeal beyond racism by promoting tax protests, resistance to gun control, and discontent about government intrusion, and the troubling political trends that have lent support to antigovernment militia groups since the 1960s. This is a well-researched, disturbing look at domestic terrorism. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

The militia movement burst into the consciousness of Americans with the Oklahoma City bombing, but hate groups have a long, shameful lineage in America. In this detailed, provocative examination, Levitas focuses on the ideas of William Potter Gale, who, despite Jewish roots, became one of the progenitors of contemporary hate ("If a Jew comes near you, run a sword through him," he told radio listeners in 1982). Gale adapted the idea of the Posse Comitatus, based on a little-known 19th-century law, to spread his notion of the need for citizen militias to defend whites. But, as Levitas, an expert on the radical right, shows, Gale is just one in a long line of racists who have used American ideas and language (such as freedom, rights and private property) to disseminate their message, which often finds a home with the alienated, sparked by specific events such as the shootouts at Ruby Ridge and Waco in the 1990s. Perhaps most disturbingly, Levitas makes a strong argument that these groups have a broad-based "weak sympathy" in numbers that far exceed their small active membership. He also shows how state and local governments have been reluctant to act against these groups, either out of sympathy or in an effort to keep the spotlight away from them. But as Levitas emphasizes, Oklahoma City and the hate groups' cheering for the September 11 attacks demonstrate that these groups will be ignored at our peril. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 18) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

1. Hell's Victoriesp. 1
2. Family Rootsp. 11
3. Hollywood Bolsheviksp. 24
4. The Enemy Withinp. 32
5. Black Mondayp. 38
6. Philosopher, Statesman, and Chiefp. 43
7. The Little Rock Crisisp. 47
8. Vicious and Desperate Menp. 52
9. Legislating Redemption: The Posse Comitatus Act Becomes Lawp. 57
10. From Jew to Reverend Galep. 61
11. Birchers and Minutemenp. 66
12. Flags, Tents, Skillets, and Soldiersp. 74
13. Anglo-Saxons Triumphantp. 79
14. The Ministry of Christ Churchp. 92
15. The Conjurer's Circlep. 97
16. Volunteer Christian Possesp. 108
17. The Posse Blue Bookp. 113
18. The Posse Rides Wisconsinp. 121
19. The Posse and the FBIp. 130
20. The Spirit of Vigilantismp. 139
21. Badges and Starsp. 149
22. The Hoskins Estatep. 154
23. Spud Shedp. 159
24. Farm Strike!p. 168
25. Tractorcadep. 177
26. No Substitute for Knowledgep. 183
27. Tax Protesterp. 192
28. Civil Disorderp. 201
29. AAM Splitp. 210
30. Kahl and His Courierp. 217
31. Snake Oil for Salep. 223
32. Jim Wickstrom's Main Manp. 232
33. A Domestic Disputep. 238
34. Neoconservatives and the Grand Wazirp. 243
35. Soft-pedaling Hatep. 256
36. The Deadfall Linep. 265
37. Farmers Abandonedp. 278
38. An Enemy Governmentp. 284
39. Militia Madnessp. 301
40. The Road from Oklahoma Cityp. 317
Epiloguep. 335
Acknowledgmentsp. 343
Ancestors and Descendants of William Potter Galep. 347
Reader's Timelinep. 349
Appendix I The Posse Comitatus: An Annotated Bibliographyp. 383
Appendix II Suppression of Insurrection and Civil Disorder: From Shays' Rebellion to the Civil Warp. 389
Appendix III Congressional Approval of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878p. 392
Abbreviations to Sourcesp. 397
Endnotesp. 399
Indexp. 509