Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump by David Neiwert

Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump

Just as Donald Trump's victorious campaign for the US presidency shocked liberal Americans, the seemingly sudden national prominence of white supremacists, xenophobes, militia leaders, and mysterious "Alt-Right" leaders mystifies many. But the extreme Right has been growing steadily in the US since the 1990s, with the rise of patriot militias. Following 9/11, conspiracy th...

Title:Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump
Author:
Rating:

Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump Reviews

  • Blair

    After a really strong introduction, I was excited about this comprehensive review of the modern political right in North America. Neiwert's thesis is that the right-wing groups and movements of today's USA have formed a perception of American society that is entirely detached from reality – a sort of alternate-universe version of the country – which he calls 'alt-America'. The beliefs that characterise alt-America were, Neiwert argues, consolidated and brought into the mainstream by Donald Trump

    After a really strong introduction, I was excited about this comprehensive review of the modern political right in North America. Neiwert's thesis is that the right-wing groups and movements of today's USA have formed a perception of American society that is entirely detached from reality – a sort of alternate-universe version of the country – which he calls 'alt-America'. The beliefs that characterise alt-America were, Neiwert argues, consolidated and brought into the mainstream by Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, resulting in his victory.

    Neiwert tracks the evolution of this new, more aggressive breed of conservative politics from homegrown militia groups and conspiracy theorists through to Gamergate and Dylann Roof. Unfortunately, while I did feel I learned something, the book is often a victim of its own thoroughness. A summary of events such as the Ruby Ridge and Bundy standoffs would, I think, have sufficed, but instead we get blow-by-blow accounts of several of these sieges that feel like they drag on for hundreds of pages. The subjects of the chapters aren't clearly defined, and although the narrative is roughly chronological, it often jumps around. With such sprawling subject matter, a more rigid structure would have been helpful.

    I also think this is the most poorly edited review copy I’ve ever come across. I don’t normally mention minor errors in ARCs – they're par for the course – but this wasn’t the usual case of a few spelling mistakes. There are lots of instances in which the point being made is completely unclear; quotes are framed in such a way that it’s impossible to tell who’s being quoted or even what they actually said; information is repeated – we might be told about the background of a right-wing website or group 3 or 4 times in different chapters. This makes for a very confusing reading experience, exacerbating what already feels like an overloaded narrative. An appendix containing a list of major players and organisations would have been beneficial here.

    A better book I've recently read about the 'alt-right' is Angela Nagle's

    I'd recommend that as a smart, snappy, unbiased guide to the state of online discourse, and its political context, around the time of the 2016 presidential election. This, of course, has a much broader scope than Nagle’s book, and it goes beyond the headline-grabbing figures and trends that readers will already be aware of – the alt-right figureheads; the Tea Party; the KKK endorsing Trump; the memes – and delves much deeper into the recent history of the radical right, tracing the roots of today's movement back to developments during the Clinton and Bush eras. This alone makes it worth at least a skim-read. However, I think the definitive book on modern US right-wing politics has yet to be written.

    Alt-America

    |

    |

    |

  • Montzalee Wittmann

    Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump by David Neiwert is a book I requested from NetGalley and the book's publishers and the review is voluntary. I want to thank them for the chance to read this great book. This book shows the reader that although the 'Alt-Right' seems to have popped right up out of thin air, it has been around for a long time. This takes you back to the the 1990's and follows many of the extremist as the movement grows. Many I have forgotten for a reas

    Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump by David Neiwert is a book I requested from NetGalley and the book's publishers and the review is voluntary. I want to thank them for the chance to read this great book. This book shows the reader that although the 'Alt-Right' seems to have popped right up out of thin air, it has been around for a long time. This takes you back to the the 1990's and follows many of the extremist as the movement grows. Many I have forgotten for a reason, and some I just didn't know that much about at all.

    There was one paragraph that sums up the whole book for me :

    "Ladies and Gentlemen: In Amercian public life there is an alternative dimension, a mental space beyond fact or logic, where the rules of evidence are replaced by paranoia. Welcome to Alternative America---Alt-America, for short."

    It goes on to list what Alt-America believes such as... Obama not an American citizen, a Muslim who is a terrorist and with Clinton is part of the New World Order to impose global government.

    Global Climate Change is a hoax.

    These same global elites want to gut the second amendment to take all the guns away.

    Our current government is really illegal.

    Prejudice and oppression against white people now is greater than ever.

    Minorities, especially blacks and illegal immigrants are sucking up taxpayers dollars through welfare programs while homeless veterans go hungry.

    Illegal immigrants, especially Latinos, are in with liberals and Democrats to overwhelm the country with welfare-dependent parasites to vote liberal agenda.

    You have to be so stupid or so racist to believe any of this nonsense! But, Trump got elected and the weak majority in Congress are doing his bidding. What a shame for the once mighty America. Taken down by a bunch of fools! May the 2018 elections bring some sanity to the country if Mueller hasn't restored order by then! Wonderful book to remind us of what happened and why.

  • Ilana

    After the election of Donal Trump as the new American president and the outburst of populist and far right discourses into the mainstream media, alt-right is a term widely - and not always correctly used - in referrence to the concotion of conservative trends predominant in the heart of the Capitol and beyond. However. as usually in the case of such movements, they did not appear from nowhere, being in fact the final result of radicalisation in American politics starting early in the 1990s.

    David

    After the election of Donal Trump as the new American president and the outburst of populist and far right discourses into the mainstream media, alt-right is a term widely - and not always correctly used - in referrence to the concotion of conservative trends predominant in the heart of the Capitol and beyond. However. as usually in the case of such movements, they did not appear from nowhere, being in fact the final result of radicalisation in American politics starting early in the 1990s.

    David Neiwert is an expert in extreme right movements in the USA, and I personally expected a throughout analysis of the phenomenon, and eventual connection with the similar phenomena in Europe and elsewhere. However, most of the book is offering a very detailed repertoire of the genesis and orientation of the various movements and mental patterns associated with the alt-right. Especially if you are not familiar with the actors and movements, radio hosts and Internet tools spreading the news and fake-news. From this point of view, the book is a very valuable database that can be used for further analysis and evaluations.

    The theoretical approach is made only in the last chapter where the patterns of American 'fascism' are identified and the need for a change of the liberalist approach is recommended. 'Donald Trump may not be a fascist, but with his vicious brand of right-wing populism, he is not just empowering the latent fascists elements in America, he is leading his followers merrely down to a path that leads directly to fascism. If the final result is fascism, the distinction between right-wing populism and fascism is not really significant, except in understanding how it happened in the first place'. I have my methodological reservations about various terminological implants and extension, preferring rather terms that better describe the reality, although it might involve the creation of new terms. Especially the reliance on new media and the various targets aimed at minority groups, plus the strong religious basis in many cases made it completely different from the usual European-based movements typical for the WWII period.

    The US radical right is getting a first row on the political stage and both the theoretical approach and the activist-oriented actions are needed.

    A book recommended to political scientists and curious scholars about the historical trends of the radicalization in the USA, as well as for knowing both the main actors and the pawns of this new political trend.

    Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  • Michelle

    ALT America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, written by investigative journalist and reporter David Neiwert who has studied political science for decades. This highly informative and expertly researched book defines the powerful forces that shape and define the ALT political movement-- its vision, agenda and ideology.

    The history and rise of ALT politics began in the 1990’s with the gun enthusiastic far right “Patriots”. Eventually the movement would turn into the “Tea Party” f

    ALT America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, written by investigative journalist and reporter David Neiwert who has studied political science for decades. This highly informative and expertly researched book defines the powerful forces that shape and define the ALT political movement-- its vision, agenda and ideology.

    The history and rise of ALT politics began in the 1990’s with the gun enthusiastic far right “Patriots”. Eventually the movement would turn into the “Tea Party” fringe of the Republican Party. On June 15, 2015, Donald Trump began his presidential campaign blasting the incompetent political leaders that allowed our great nation to be beaten down by foreign trade. What was really apparent was his bigotry towards Latinos and other minorities in his boastful, arrogant, unapologetic narrative.

    By 2015, domestic acts of terrorism had spiked considerably, the vast majority of these acts were committed by American right wing extremists. The most damaging was the attack and bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Most Americans identify terrorism with radical Islam or Al Qaeda, associated with 9/11. Neiwert pointed out that the Justice Department does not officially report or record acts of domestic terror committed by neo-Nazi’s, environmental extremists, militias, war groups or other isolated madmen.

    The unusual views of the ALT include: Barack Obama is a secret Muslim conspiring with terrorist radicals to impose sharia law on Americans. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and a vast majority of politicians are a part of the elite that favor a New World Order and global government. Global Climate Change is a hoax, and a large amount of other conspiracy theories where white people are targeted by those who favor minorities that “suck away” taxpayer dollars and bring crime and disease to the USA. They favor a border wall that Donald Trump has proposed to keep them out.

    The powerful prejudice against racial and ethnic minorities including the LGBT population and religious minorities are the backbone of the ALT agenda. The white supremacists, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, xenophobes, misogynists and paranoid conspiracy theorists were embraced by Donald Trump, drawn from the fringe, and into mainstream politics. However, when a barrage of the anti-Semitic hate mail and messages appeared on social media, Trump remained strangely silent.

    **With thanks and appreciation to Verso Books via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.

  • Dan

    An unsettling and deeply terrifying but also unputdownable history of the far right's development in America across the past few decades.

  • Tonstant Weader

    I wish Alt-America were fiction, I would like it so much better if it were telling the story of what happened in another multi-verse, but it’s all terribly true and so it is depressing. However, if we want a just and decent society, we have to look at reality no matter how sad, depressing, and frightening it may be.

    David Neiwert has spent decades reporting on rising extremism on the right. When the rhetoric of talk radio became increasingly violent, he coined the term eliminationist to avoid cal

    I wish Alt-America were fiction, I would like it so much better if it were telling the story of what happened in another multi-verse, but it’s all terribly true and so it is depressing. However, if we want a just and decent society, we have to look at reality no matter how sad, depressing, and frightening it may be.

    David Neiwert has spent decades reporting on rising extremism on the right. When the rhetoric of talk radio became increasingly violent, he coined the term eliminationist to avoid calling them fascist since many of them were not fascists in ideology, just using fascistic communication styles and means. In this book, he notes that the various movements among the right have coalesced into the alt-right, weaving together true fascists and neo-nazis with white nationalists, misogynists, racists, and dominion theologists into a movement that threatens democracy and our system of pluralistic government.

    Since I follow the news and Neiwert’s blog closely, many of the events in this book were familiar, but even for me, there were many eye-opening things. Of particular interest for me was how the media narrative often erases the political motivation of mass killers. Even when they have political tracts, books, and their own manifesto, if they are white, they are often reported as troubled and singular, their motives found in mental illness rather than in response to stochastic violent incitement. When Sarah Palin tweeted, “Don’t retreat, RELOAD” she was playing with fire and she knew it, she was appealing to those who applauded Michael Douglas in Falling Down and make millions for vigilante films.

    I think Alt-America is an important book, but dang, is it depressing. The alt-right is coalescing several different extremist movements united by a sense of grievance, a taste for violence, and a love of authoritarianism. They are gaining power.

    I wish there were more information on how to combat the alt-right and rising extremism. Neiwert is right that conversations are where we must start and includes some advice on how to start and what to avoid. This is useful.

    What disappointed me was his acceptance of caricatures of liberals that are generated from the right, you know the elitist latte-drinking, merlot-sipping elites who despise the ignorant hayseeds. I know they exist. They are called the Real Housewives and some of them are Republicans, too. But demographically, conservatives are whiter and wealthier than liberals. So who is more likely to be elitist? He also talks about the neglect of rural areas, though the Democratic Platform was full of programs to help rural America and one of the first things slated for cuts from Trump’s budget is the subsidy for high-speed internet in rural America.

    I also would like to know what he thinks about the philosophical dilemma of tolerating the intolerant. When does speech go from protected first amendment speech to unprotected yelling fire in a theater speech? Are universities obligated to give a platform to hate speech? After Richard Spencer’s recent speech in FL, three men fired at protesters. Can the argument be made denying him a platform because he is dangerous?

    Nonetheless, these are minor flaws in a strong and important history that everyone needs to read. Neiwert is scrupulous about using the terms Nazi and fascist, but when reading this book, I could not help thinking that the Nazis did not start out with concentration camps, they started out with firing teachers.

    I was provided an e-galley of Alt-America by the publisher through NetGalley

    Alt-America at Verso Books

    David Neiwert Author Site

  • Kaelan (Κάϊλαν)

    The above title is taken from the final chapter of this book. It is a fitting heading to be paired with our current politcial climate, and I say "our" political climate as - despite being from London, UK - I can thoroughly agree that when America sneezes, the world catches pneumonia (forgot the cold).

    The content of this book surprised me, and I'm struggling as to how to recommend this to others. I first saw it in a Waterstones bookstore and nearly froze on the

    The above title is taken from the final chapter of this book. It is a fitting heading to be paired with our current politcial climate, and I say "our" political climate as - despite being from London, UK - I can thoroughly agree that when America sneezes, the world catches pneumonia (forgot the cold).

    The content of this book surprised me, and I'm struggling as to how to recommend this to others. I first saw it in a Waterstones bookstore and nearly froze on the spot, as it seemed my answer to finding THE book on what happened last November might finally be in my sights. I love a good book that analyses fringe movements, and this looked like the deal breaker for understanding how those movements came to power in 2016. After reading Alt-America, I have to say, this isn't that book. Perhaps that will come further down the line (if we're all still here).

    In general, I must recommend anything that analysis Neo-Fasicsm in its 21st century form, and by default extension, this book falls firmly into that category. The ideology has been dormant, but never dead, and the author of this book

    makes it crystal clear in the final chapter of

    that the United States has been

    lucky so far that a truly charismatic, authoritarian leader hasn't risen to lead the tide of right wing populism that's been fermenting in the nations underbelly since the 1990's.*

    Which leads us to this books purpose. As mentioned, It's hard to recommend this in one particular way, and I believe anyone who's already looked into this specific topic won't find anything majorly new here. As such, this has to be recommended to those outside the States, as at its bare minimum,

    is one Hell of a dive into insanity for the uninitiated outsider (and this is coming from myself who keeps a pretty good eye on fringe groups from a few sources).

    Neiwert traces the beginnings of the Alt-America we have today from the 90's Militias, to the post 9/11 conspiracy mill era, into the tea party shenanigans (good God what a nightmare) and finally Trump, as well as the rise of the Alt-Right. It's a well researched book, which sees the author making good connections from chapter to chapter, leading the reader through the decades, to arrivd at a solid understanding as to how we ended up in the mess we have today. As a result, It's not hard to see how much resentment was bubbling beneath the surface of America's society, just waiting for the right figure to unite all the various extremist factions into one cohesive unit (although that seems to be collapsing right now, which isn't necessarily a good thing).

    My only criticism lies in a lack of analysis from Neiwert throughout each chapter. He basically logs each decade and moves to the next without much input. He saves opinion for the end in a half-baked recommendation as to how to proceed from here. It becomes rather contradictory considering he spends most of the book clearly and purposefully displaying expertly just how powerful this movement has become; how brainwashed

    people have become. On one hand he recommends a peaceful protest in opposition to Trump and his posse, with ways in which to discuss alternatives with those supporters on his side in dissolution with their lives, whilst on the other hand thoroughly agreeing that extending a hand to those who seek violence from the extremeties of the right as a pointless exercise. Obviously I'm not quoting directly, but the conclusion was slightly confusing seeing as where does one part begin, and one part end? It goes without saying that it's certainly difficult to know who has been truly lost down the rabbit hole (30 years of disinformation will do that to the rust belt) and who can be convinced their political path is not the one to take. However, it was hardly a deal breaker for me when reading this.

    I'll leave the reader with a quote from the book I found particularly chilling:

    It would be really great if that death spiral doesn't come to fruition.

  • Tom Mackay

    This is an important book, one that should be read by all that are concerned about the current state of American politics (read: the Trump White House) . Neiwert does an excellent job of documenting the ascent and mainstreaming of the far-right over the past two and a bit decades. He also teases out the linkages between what is a diverse array of ideologies, movements, and organisations, and shows how these are all unified through a Trump presidency. His Afterword offers a sensible, though no le

    This is an important book, one that should be read by all that are concerned about the current state of American politics (read: the Trump White House) . Neiwert does an excellent job of documenting the ascent and mainstreaming of the far-right over the past two and a bit decades. He also teases out the linkages between what is a diverse array of ideologies, movements, and organisations, and shows how these are all unified through a Trump presidency. His Afterword offers a sensible, though no less passionate warning about the potential rise of 'fascism' in America and suggests some possible ways to combat the far-right. Most importantly, Alt-America stresses the connections between domestic, right-wing terrorist attacks and the gradual proliferation and legitimization of a dangerously deluded alt-right worldview (or series of worldviews). This, more than anything else, is what makes the book essential reading.

    Neiwert could have explored the social, economic, and political conditions driving the populist-right in greater depth. He touches upon them sporadically throughout the book and in the Afterword, but much more could have been said about what is making some of these extremist ideas attractive to not just the far-right (or the basket of deplorables) but also to plenty of conservative middle-Americans. But then this kind of analysis is perhaps best left to the likes of Thomas Frank and Bethany Moreton. Moreover, Neiwert could have said something about the long history of what Richard Hofstadter called the 'paranoid style in American politics'. The Alt-Right for sure thrives on a completely distorted and paranoid conception of the world, but they are by no means the first to do so. As Hofstadter argued some 50 years ago, there has been a long-tradition of lunacy in the United States. Addressing this would have strengthened the analysis by showing the intellectual traditions underpinning the Alt-right (though, to be fair, the John Birch Society is mentioned several times.

    Nonetheless, Alt-America is a fascinating and vital account of the rise of the far-right. It should be read even if only for the comprehensive survey of rightest extremism from Ruby-Ridge to Trumpism. Really, though, it needs to be read so people can see the link between the fascist right and the populist right.

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    This book is an in-depth study of the of the radical right and its entry into the mainstream in the person of Donald J. Trump. The factors that made this homegrown fascist movement were many and incubating for a long time. Some of them have to do with authoritarian psychology to which a large segment of the population is prone. Some have to do with the concerted actions of Militia movements, white supremacist groups, and its melding with movement conservatism which had long dog whistled racist m

    This book is an in-depth study of the of the radical right and its entry into the mainstream in the person of Donald J. Trump. The factors that made this homegrown fascist movement were many and incubating for a long time. Some of them have to do with authoritarian psychology to which a large segment of the population is prone. Some have to do with the concerted actions of Militia movements, white supremacist groups, and its melding with movement conservatism which had long dog whistled racist messages as part of its southern strategy along with the development of a hermetically sealed media bubble which has cocooned the right from any conflicting messages and reality itself. Authoritarians feed a media diet of the imagination of fever swamps of the right have grown increasingly extreme and have mainstreamed racist white supremacist and fascist ideology which is in the process of capturing the Republican party under Trump. This book names the events and players with much detail. If you want to understand what has happened to a sizable chunk of the population that voted for Trump I can think of no better source in one volume.

    Here is a chat with the author with Joe Conason on Youtube

  • Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)

    I toyed with even posting a review of this book.  Not because I hated it, I actually agreed with most of the points of view. But, I didn't want a bunch of blinkered, lonely, psychopathic keyboard warriors filling up my comments.  I'm not an activist or a politician and I am not looking to engage in spitting conversation about Trump, or how hard done by poor white people are, or how ISIS want to turn the world Muslim.  I'm here to tell you broadly what is in the book and what I felt about it. Tha

    I toyed with even posting a review of this book.  Not because I hated it, I actually agreed with most of the points of view. But, I didn't want a bunch of blinkered, lonely, psychopathic keyboard warriors filling up my comments.  I'm not an activist or a politician and I am not looking to engage in spitting conversation about Trump, or how hard done by poor white people are, or how ISIS want to turn the world Muslim.  I'm here to tell you broadly what is in the book and what I felt about it. That is all. If you want to rage, head off to some other page because, with me, you'll just get my love and prayers, or a block notice.

    This book is an analysis of the rise of the Alt-Right in America and Trump's part to play in its sudden prominence.  It's very detailed and researches key events in America which began to turn the tide, well before Trump decided it was a great idea to give the Presidency a crack.  This book is weighty and throughout the well-paced timeline, cut down into chapters of key events, explains how these came together to bring us the America we have today. It is a historical, social and political report of the rise and disturbing popularity of the Alt-Right we know today, from one of Americas best analysts on the far right movement, David Neiwart.

    What I found most interesting was the psychology behind some of these characters, who wield such power within the walls of The White House. If a fact is presented and unliked, it's fake news, or simply didn't happen. Conspiracy theories become truth and mainstream. There is an alternative universe in which these people live and to be honest, what I took out of this book is that calling these supporters kooks, conspiracy theorists, or lunatics will only goad them into escalating acts of violence and vitriol. Education instead of brainwashing surely is key. Take your mind back to a time where you've had a point of view which has been shot down or laughed at publicly, it's unlikely you conceded your point of view and merrily changed your mind. It's more likely you dug your heels in, had a row and maybe didn't talk to that person again.

    I also took from these pages the negative and yet powerful impact social media has. People are fed more of what they like and share, which then becomes forced on them with cleverly targeted sponsored posts and detailed algorithms.  Facebook thinks it's a good thing to show you more of what you like and when this happens, the world for that person grows smaller and the balance of opinions is lost. Human contact is also lost and it becomes very easy to dehumanise another person on the internet through a screen, making it easier to hurl abuse.

    How did it get this bad? How can it improve when, today, at the time of posting this very review Trump flippantly retweeted a British far-right twitter account with unverified videos of Muslims attacking people, demonstrating his support for the far-right and sharing their messages with millions of Americans.

    For me, these horrendous acts of terror cast upon people of ALL races, religions and colour are abhorrent and will never ever be a solution for peace, only for implosion and war.  This book was interesting to me to understand just what happened and how America came to be today, but ultimately it just made me feel incredibly sad and worried about the America of the future.

Books Finder is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.