THE EXTREMISTS by Mark Sherwin


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Although the late Mark Sherwin's swift, strapping, unsugarcoated survey of Extremism in the United States today gets reckless at times (he dismisses intellectual William Buckley as a scrambled egghead and politician Barry Goldwater as a darling, dynamic dodo), for the most part the book ably anatomizes the lunatic landscape of professional anti-Communists, anti-Jews, anti-Negroes and anti-Whites, making no bones about the socio-psychopathic problems and personalities involved, including the Minute Men, Rockwell's Neo-Nazi movement, Robert Welch's burgeoning Birchers, man-on-horseback General Walker, the Reverend Billy's book-burning ""Christian Crusade"", the South's White Supremacists group, the newly publicized Black Muslims. Through misleading platitudes, propaganda or so-called patriotism, along with an irresponsible mingling of fact and falsehood, they play upon the fears and frustrations of the ordinary middle-of-the-roader, demanding, at various times and in various ways, the destruction of the UN and the USSR before they destroy us, the immediate repeal of the income tax law, the lynching of Chief Justice Warren, the investigation of the State Department and Supreme Court or the setting aside of several states solely for blacks. Sherwin is neither scholarly, statistical nor fortified with footnotes, the sine qua non of an ""objective"" study, but his reportage is full-blooded, frighteningly frank and bound to trigger tempers around town.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1962
Publisher: St. Martin's Press