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By the time this book was completed, its author, Vegas Tenold, had spent six years living among extreme white nationalist groups in America.
Having covered conflicts in different parts of the world for many years Tenold “felt that the path to defeating extremism was through understanding it.” Tenold never tried to hide his identity or his reasons for doing what he did. As he traveled to the many cities in America, where extremist rallies have taken place Tenold was able to experience first hand the hate, the violence and the staggering ineptitude that the far right exhibited regularly.
“My interest in the groups of the extreme far right and its
members was purely sociological. I was fascinated that
there are still those in America—-a country whose history
is steeped in government sanctioned white supremacy—-
who believe that the white race is under siege and in danger
This statement clearly suggests that the author does not understand the thinking of the extreme far right. It further suggests the white race and the culture of white people has always been the dominant culture in America where its government has always and still does advocate for whites. This begs the question: How can a person be white in America and feel they do not or have not benefited from its overt system of the oppression of people who are not white?
Three people highlighted in the book are Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP), aka the Little Fuhrer by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and Dan Elmquist of the KKK. All of whom have their own ideas about white supremacy, the so-called annihilation of the white race, and many other fallacies.
Ironically Heimbach “. . . views himself as neither hateful or racist, and claimed he’d been trying to convince others on the far right that they would never get anywhere by walking around calling other races inferior. Their beef according to Heimbach, was not with a race of people, but with a system that had marginalized and decimated white workers for years . . . “ In the next breath . . . “he admitted he enjoyed being called the “new face of organized hate.”
Jeff Schoep, a Hitler enthusiast—-and like Heimbach—-is in a constant battle to combine their ideologies with like minded organizations or at worse trying to get others to see things their way. Schoep had read “Mein Kampf” at fifteen and went about making a name for himself by contacting “ . . . everyone from skinhead crews to Aryan Nations, skipping only the KKK and Christian Identity groups because he did not consider himself religious.” One of Schoeps biggest problems in trying to form alliances was that the organizations he approached were so small in numbers that it was basically a futile attempt at increasing memberships for his own organization. Not to mention the long list of things they did not see eye-to-eye on.
The KKK, has been a terrorist group in America for many years since Reconstruction. Every gain made by African-Americans during that time was considered a defeat for the KKK, mostly notably angry whites. Of course, they reacted accordingly. They have always been a government sanctioned terrorist group and rarely held accountable for the atrocities they’ve committed in America.
Reading about the rebirth of white nationalism in America is an exhausting task. It can be seen in the writing of this book that the author feels it is useless for these extremists groups to even make the attempts at rebuilding the white nationalist movement in America, mainly because there is no need for it. Still they have forged ahead spewing hate, and saying in a loud and clear voice what it is they stand for.
In the final analysis, the lies they believe, the ideologies they uphold helps them feel empowered. In reality, the mindset is identical to that of a gang mentality. This is according to . . . “a study by the British Council that found one of the major drivers of extremist recruitment was the desire to be part of something bigger and to no longer “feel invisible.”
Despite the subject matter of Everything You Love Will Burn: . . . it remains largely relevant for the times in which we have been living---for most notably---the last two years. After all that has happened since 2016—-there is very little doubt that the white nationalism movement has made its resurgence and is on the rise in America.
Tenold does an excellent job of driving that point home. Some of his thoughts and observations throughout the book are humorous. In telling of his experiences in the white nationalist movement, he explains interesting tidbits of information. Of course, this is not the only book on this subject. What this book does is—it places the rise of the white nationalist movement front and center of American politics in the 21st century.