Belew's impressive research effectively supports her hypothesis. A good launching point for even further intensive study.



Belew (History/Univ. of Chicago) pieces together evidence from primary and secondary sources to argue that the racist, anti-government, heavily armed white power movement is not what it seems.

As the author shows, many government agencies, law enforcers, and individual citizens have fallen for the myth that the lethal domestic terrorism carried out in the name of white supremacists is the doing of angry lone wolves. On the contrary, she writes, the movement is well-organized and thus more dangerous than previously understood. Belew places these types of individuals under the umbrella of sometimes-violent white power, a group that includes neo-Nazis, radical tax resisters, self-proclaimed Klansmen, members of local militias, separatists who oppose racial integration, and believers in white theologies such as Christian Identity. Although violent white supremacists have never been absent in American history, the author pegs the contemporary movement as growing from the discontent of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, a war that not so incidentally trained young men filled with racial hatred how to kill efficiently, not only with rifles, but also with powerful explosives. Before the war, white supremacists believed they were supporting governmental authority via vigilante justice, meant to marginalize undesirables. But the current white power movement members would prefer to overthrow governments, even at the cost of lives taken. A key concept in understanding the overall movement, writes Belew, is the concept of “leaderless resistance,” as exemplified by Timothy McVeigh’s insistence that he acted almost entirely alone in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing despite evidence that he considered himself a soldier in a coordinated cell-style underground. The near invisibility of the movement leaders has led directly to the proliferation of the public’s belief in the phenomenon of lone wolves, which helps protect the movement from a coordinated takedown.

Belew's impressive research effectively supports her hypothesis. A good launching point for even further intensive study.

Pub Date: April 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-674-28607-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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