by Thomas & John Guinther Martinez ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 25, 1988
In 1984, radical right-winger Martinez stoolied to the FBI about his fellows in the ""Order,"" the violent cabal responsible for the murder of Denver radio talk-show host Alan Berg and for a string of armed robberies and counterfeitings. Now Martinez teams with Guinther--author of several superb books on law, including The Malpractitioners (1978) and The Jury in America (1987)--to tell his alarming story. Of Spanish-Swedish heritage, Martinez grew up in an all-white and very bigoted corner of Philadelphia. His smoldering racism kindled when he dropped out of high school in response to threats from a black gang; it blazed when, at age 21, he heard David Duke, head of the KKK, on radio. Shortly after joining the Klan, Martinez joined the National Alliance (America's Nazi party) and met Bob Matthews, the charismatic young reactionary who soon would form the Order. Slowly, Matthews enticed Martinez into crime aimed at financing a ""revolution""--mostly, the passing of counterfeit bills. By 1984, however, Martinez was horrified at violence engineered by Matthews--the Berg murder, a Brinks hold-up--and also had begun to harbor doubts about racism. Caught passing bad money, Martinez turned to the FBI, who used him to inform on and then finger Matthews--who, before dying in a shoot-out, branded Martinez a traitor. Two right-wingers contracted for Martinez's death; but the hit-man they hired was an undercover FBI agent. Martinez's subsequent court testimony has crippled the radical right; today, spurning the Witness Protection Program, he lectures around the country for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. An exciting account of life at the lunatic fringe that's given a dollop of depth by Martinez's introspection about the roots of racism (personal weakness in his case, he avers) and the radical right. For a fuller, more penetrating account of the Order, however, readers should try 1987's Armed and Dangerous, by James Coates (who reports that Martinez insisted in court that his name wasn't Hispanic, but ""every bit as Aryan a name as Matthews""--thus tarnishing the reformed sinner's halo that floats over Martinez's book).
Pub Date: April 25, 1988
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1988
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