Book Reviews: Arthur Goldwag’s The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right & Thomas R. Pegram’s One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s

Rebecca Barrett-Fox

Abstract


As reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the number of hate groups in the United States has continually risen since 2000 in response to three factors: the election of the nation’s first African American president, economic turmoil, and undocumented immigration (Potok, 2011). While these structural changes might feel painful for those native-born white Americans who view signs of increasing pluralism as worrisome and who believe that their economic losses are due to the gains of minority groups, they are not new challenges—nor are the hate-filled responses to them new. In both One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s by Thomas R. Pegram and The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right by Arthur Goldwag, the authors make the point that hate groups and the conspiracy theories that circulate within them are deeply rooted in American culture and that, while they are, in the details, constructions of their own times, they are also responses to problems seen as long-standing threats to American security and prosperity, responses that are consistent across time.

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