1. Why should readers learn about the white power movement?
White power is a fringe movement that has been largely ignored throughout its history, but its legacy continues to shape American life in profound ways. Even after acts of mass violence like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, public understanding about the movement was nebulous as white power activists attempted to portray their activity as the work of lone actors and disconnected groups. The result? The movement was never curbed because people were not aware of it. Bring the War Home is intended to make people aware.
2. How is white power related to the self-described “alt-right” in the present moment?
Bring the War Home is the backstory to the movement that has called itself the “alt-right.” This book will help people to understand where that movement came from, who it includes, and what its goals and objectives might be. It also offers a full accounting of the violence inherent in white power activism, even when this activism has purported to be directed only at electoral politics and political change.
3. Who was involved in the white power movement?
White power was a movement of people: men, women, and children. They came from all regions of the country. They were rich and poor, educated and uneducated, young and old. They were not lone actors, but part of a social movement, one that unified its members through racism, shared acts of violence, stories about war, and belief in an apocalyptic future.
4. What does war have to do with white power activism?
The title “Bring the War Home” is taken from a popular Klan essay about using a shared narrative of the Vietnam War to shape violent activism in the United States. The Vietnam War story brought previously disparate activists together—like Klansmen and neo-Nazis—and shaped the kinds of violence they carried out.
5. Why does the author argue that wartime experiences are connected to later racist violence at home?
Bring the War Home is a work of history that draws on more than a decade of extensive archival research. The historical record clearly shows that vigilantism has corresponded with the aftermath of war throughout U.S. history. The book concludes that war doesn’t stay in the time and space designated for it by the state—instead, it spills over into other times, and other terrains. History reveals that violence continues long after the official end of war.
6. Does this book disparage American veterans?
No. The purpose of Bring the War Home is to shed light on a specific group of individuals who were involved in the white power movement, and who attempted to wage race war to create an all-white nation. While some of the individuals who joined the white power movement did serve in Vietnam and other wars, they are in no way representative of the Vietnam veterans who made valuable sacrifices for their country.
7. What research is behind Bring the War Home?
Bring the War Home was researched and written by the historian Kathleen Belew, an educator and expert in paramilitarism. Dr. Belew spent a decade collecting, reviewing, and connecting common threads between thousands of documents related to the white power movement, including original correspondence and ephemera of activists themselves, records from the FBI, ATF, and Department of Justice, court records, and newspaper stories from the United States, Mexico and Nicaragua. All sources appear in the book's endnotes.
8. What names are omitted from Bring the War Home?
All activists involved in the movement are identified. The book preserves the anonymity of some bystanders who were not involved in the movement, or who were children at the time of the events described.