Why, for two hundred years, have some American citizens seen this country as an endangered Eden, to be purged of corrupting peoples or ideas by any means necessary? To the Know-Nothings
of the 1850s, the enemy was Irish
immigrants. To the Ku Klux Klan
, it was Jews, blacks, and socialists. To groups like the Michigan Militia, the enemy is the government itself -- and some of them are willing to take arms against it. The Party of Fear -- which has now been updated to examine the right-wing resurgence of the 1990s -- is the first book to reveal the common values and anxieties that lie beneath the seeming diversity of the far right. From the anti-Catholic
riots that convulsed Philadelphia in 1845 to the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, it casts a brilliant, cautionary light not only on our political fringes but on the ways in which ordinary Americans define themselves and demonize outsiders.
Click for the original review.
The Irish came to America in large numbers in the 1840's as a result of the great Irish potato famine, and received a mixed welcome. The Ku Klux Klan has seen three phases, with the most recent occuring after World War II to express opposition to the aims of the Civil Rights Movement. Catholics in America have had to contend with the idea that they owe more loyalty to the Pope in Rome than to their own country.