GOD, GUTS, AND GUNS: A Close Look at the Radical Right by Phillip Finch

GOD, GUTS, AND GUNS: A Close Look at the Radical Right

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Can it be that the John Birch Society is not a part of the radical fight? In the world described by Finch, the JBS is too concerned with who lost China and not racist or anti-Semitic enough to qualify. This is the world of the KKK, the Minutemen, the Christian-Patriots Defense League, and others dedicated to the proposition that the government is evil and the Jews are behind everything. Trying to cash in on the Moral Majority and New Right phenomenon by looking at extreme cases, Finch makes sloppy use of his catchall radical-right title. He spends a lot of time talking about the Birchers even though he considers them moderates; he includes the ""God does not hear the prayers of a Jew"" line of a fundamentalist minister; he implicates Ronald Reagan through Reagan's religious jargon; and otherwise he gets as much mileage as possible out of whatever is out there. The radical rightists do believe that the world is going down fast, and Finch tries to muster some sympathy for the likes of John Harrel, leader of the Christian-Patriots Defense League--who, like his listeners under a tent at a quasi-revival meeting, is really a sort of decent guy: it's only his ideas that are weird. In this case, they include weapons training and a belief that a showdown with the ""enemy"" is coming--an enemy that includes the major networks and the IRS. Overwrought and overwritten (""Hot night, summer night in rural Illinois""), Finch's portrait of fringe types is simple, and simple-minded, exploitation. See instead Alan Crawford's Thunder on the Right (1980).

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1983
Publisher: Seaview/Putnam