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Arie Perliger

Jan 6, 2021

American Zealots

Inside Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism

Columbia University Press 2020

In an unsettling time in American history, the outbreak of right-wing violence is among the most disturbing developments. In recent years, attacks originating from the far right of American politics have targeted religious and ethnic minorities, with a series of antigovernment militants, religious extremists, and lone-wolf mass shooters inspired by right-wing ideologies. The need to understand the nature and danger of far-right violence is greater than ever.

In American Zealots: Inside Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism by Arie Perliger (Columbia University Press, 2020), Arie Perliger provides a wide-ranging and rigorously researched overview of right-wing domestic terrorism. He analyzes its historical roots, characteristics, tactics, rhetoric, and organization, assessing the current and future trajectory of the use of violence by the far right. Perliger draws on a comprehensive dataset of more than 5,000 attacks and their perpetrators from 1990 through 2017 in order to explore key trends in American right-wing terrorism. He describes the entire ideological spectrum of the American far right, including today’s white supremacists, antigovernment groups, and antiabortion fundamentalists, as well as the histories of the KKK, skinheads, and neo-Nazis. Based on these findings, Perliger suggests counterterrorism policies that can respond effectively to the far-right threat. A groundbreaking examination of violence spawned from right-wing ideologies, American Zealots is essential reading for everyone seeking to understand the transformation of domestic terrorism.

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Beth Windisch

Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner.

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