Add to GoodReads Exam Copies eExam Copies

American Swastika

Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate

Pete Simi and Robert Futrell

American Swastika takes readers through hidden enclaves of hate in America, exploring how White Supremacy movements thrive nationwide, even as the country on the surface advocates racial equality. The authors explain the difference between movements such as the KKK, the Aryan Nation, and Skinheads, among others, then discuss the various ways White Supremacists cultivate, maintain, and spread their beliefs, largely under the radar of most Americans.

Authors Pete Simi and Robert Futrell draw on over a decade of research and interviews, from the infamous Hayden Lake Aryan compound in Northern Idaho, to private homes in L.A., to hate music concerts around the country. Through descriptive case studies, the authors look at hate in the home, talking with parents who aim to raise "little Hitler" and discussing the impact home schooling and cultural isolation can have on children. The authors also describe Aryan crash pads, Bible studies, and rituals, take readers through the hate music scene from underground bars to massive rallies, and examine how the internet has shaped communication and created disturbing new virtual communities.

American Swastika shows how White Power groups sustain themselves and grow, even in a nation that preaches equality and tolerance, and looks toward how we can work to prevent future violence.
« less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 184Size: 6 1/4 x 9
978-1-4422-0208-5 • Hardback • January 2010 • $49.95 • (£32.95)
978-1-4422-0209-2 • Paperback • November 2010 • $19.95 • (£13.95)
978-1-4422-0210-8 • eBook • January 2010 • $18.99 • (£12.95)
Pete Simi is associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He has published a number of articles on the White Power movement and was awarded a grant from the Department of Justice to study recruitment strategies for White Supremacist groups.
Robert Futrell is associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has published widely on the White Power movement, as well as issues of environmental sustainability in the West.
Chapter 1: Hidden Spaces of Aryan Hate
Chapter 2: Contemporary Aryan Hate
Chapter 3: Aryan Hate in the Home
Chapter 4: Hate Parties
Chapter 5: White Power Music Scene
Chapter 6: Virtual Hate
Chapter 7: Private Aryan Communities
Chapter 8: Enduring White Power Activism: Estimating the Aryan Threat and What to Do About It

Appendix: Making Contact and Developing Rapport

About the Authors
Simi (Univ. of Nebraska, Omaha) and Futrell (UNLV) provide an unprecedented look into communities of white supremacy in the US. Their particular areas of focus are the movement's free spaces, both material and virtual, where white supremacists can safely come together to express their racial views, form hate-centered communities, and recruit new members. Birthday parties, house parties, rock shows, Bible study, Internet groups, and weekend retreats all reveal the startling normality of racial hatred in these communities and make the book compelling for several academic genres. This rich community study explores issues of identity, refuge, inclusion, empowerment, bonding, and division. It also is relevant as a study of a contemporary social movement that seeks survival and change in a world hostile to its beliefs. Further, the book contributes to the study of racial identity and contemporary racism, highlighting the need to continue to examine overt forms of racism in a color-blind society. It is important for its contribution to multiple fields and its compelling readability. Essential.

Through their revealing and disturbing ethnographic accounts of the activities of white supremacist groups...the authors argue that white supremacist ideas, identity, and pride are cultivated and disseminated through Aryan "free spaces." ....The authors bring their academic knowledge of the white power movement to bear on their ethnographic study. Of interest to students and researchers of hate groups and white supremacist activities in America.
Library Journal

America's white racists see themselves as an endangered minority, according to this disturbing look at the white supremacist movement. Simi, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, teams up with Futrell, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, to provide a panorama of the white power movement in its different regional and ideological iterations. With insight and clarity, the authors offer a detailed review of supremacist literature, as well as the role the Internet has played in strengthening the movement....The book is indisputably a powerful and unnerving study of how parents indoctrinate their children to hate and fear minorities, and the role that activities as mundane as concerts, house parties and tattooing can play in the conversion of new recruits into these subcultures. Also helpful is the overview of groups ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to racist skinheads, each of whom have their own distinctive beliefs, social codes and agenda.
Publishers Weekly

Pete Simi, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha kept going back, kept trying to get deeper into the mind of the modern American white supremacist. And that's likely why his book, "American Swastika," is such a fascinating read-an unusually lively read, really, considering it's also intended to be an academic look at the subject by an academic. His walk on the wild side not only enriched the sociological insights of the book, but inspired vivid, frightening narratives from his time spent walking with some of this country's most fanatically racist people.
Omaha World-Herald

American Swastika takes readers into the 'free spaces' of the white-power movement, where members emerge to speak their minds without fear of retribution. Researched and written by Pete Simi and Robert Futrell...the book takes us into the homes of white-power believers, to their rallies, concerts and to children's birthday parties with swastika-shaped cakes.
Las Vegas Weekly

Your academic friends will find much to learn about the eye-opening subject of hardcore racism in Pete Simi and Robert Futrell's harrowing American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate (Rowman and Littlefield, $19.95). These two young university profs, through first-person accounts and interviews with members of white-supremacy groups, dig deep into the subculture's cracks and crevices, the music and the lifestyle, to tell us what's going on. 'Weapons and race war are consistent topics of crashpad conversation,' they write, a crashpad being a rundown motel or dilapidated apartment around Los Angeles where skinheads gather for days, sometimes weeks, on end. Simi and Futrell don't flinch at anything—the hate-spewing rock bands, the rituals, the Internet propaganda. Swastika isn't preachy; rather, it's a sociological analysis of what happens in those invisible places where hate festers, even at the moment when—and perhaps due to the fact that—a black man resides in the White House.
The Tuscan Weekly

Simi and Futrell conducted extensive fieldwork and interviews with white power activists and groups between 1996 and 2006. Their impressive data include 89 initial and 94 follow-up interviews, observation in a number of movement spaces and, most unusual, visits to white power activist houses that extended from several days to five weeks. With these rare data, the authors provide an insiders’ look at white power activism. . . . This book needs to be read by anyone interested in white power activism. It is a well-crafted study of the range of social practices and emotions that sustain racial extremism in today’s America.
Contemporary Sociology

Even with the historic victory of Barack Obama, the legacy of white supremacy in America is alive and well. This book lays bare the specific groups and particular practices that sustain the extreme forms of the legacy. Don’t miss it!
Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary

If you want to understand the white power movement in the U.S., you must read American Swastika. Pete Simi and Robert Futrell draw on their own observations and interviews as well as the work of previous researchers to produce a compelling, well-researched, and comprehensive examination of white power activism. They skillfully tackle the difficult issue of explaining why this movement has persisted in one form or another for so long.
Betty A. Dobratz, Iowa State University, coauthor of White Power, White Pride

This book is an eye-opener in several ways, revealing the every day lives of an important element in the U.S. that has power beyond their numbers. Pete Simi and Robert Futrell's data describe real people with real concerns that are too-often dismissed as the lunatic fringe.
James F. Short Jr., Washington State University

Those not familiar with this pathological world would do well to read the “inside” look by Simi and Futrell. They are a criminologist and sociologist, respectively, who have used their research skills to see deeper than most of us will ever go into the reality of white supremacist groups.
Their on-scene investigation shows us some of the rawness of life within actual white supremacist communities.

Simi and Futrell are engaged in ethnographic observation which, given how little is known about these particular communities, provides helpful information. They certainly do not promote white supremacy.

The world looks more and more threatening to those who believe in the supremacy of their white group over all others. This book may not show us how to respond, but it surely show us the need to do so.

Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture

“White power adherents are not typically “out” about their extremist leanings. They straddles the worlds of white power and mainstream society, often publically playing down or hiding their extremist identities. In the past this might have Robert Futrell, a professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Pete Simi, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, been a hindrance. But these days, they thrive in what we call hidden spaces of hate, often online, where they gather to support one another and their cause”
The New York Times

This is perhaps the most essential resource for understanding the white power movement in the United States. Using harrowing interviews and observations, Simi and Futrell confirm that white supremacy is thriving and give the reader unprecedented access to the “free spaces” of the movement, where ideology is articulated: birthday parties, punk rock concerts, and rallies.
Library Journal

An important account of the neo-Nazi White Supremacist movement in the United States. Drawing on extensive field work, including numerous interviews, the authors explain the movement’s various groupings, their 'infrastructure of hate,' their extremist ideologies and agendas, how they radicalise, recruit and indoctrinate their members (including through private homes, 'hate' parties, rituals, music festivals and online), and response measures to effectively counter and marginalise the influence and activities of these militant groups. The appendix includes a valuable guide for academic researchers to make contact and develop rapport with such militants (while avoiding the ethical dilemma of building 'too much' rapport with them) in order to understand their mindsets and activities.
Perspectives on Terrorism

  • Based on original, first-hand, ethnographic data

  • An inside look at a violent subculture

  • Combines readable case studies with informative analysis

  • The paperback features a timely new Preface addressing the recent growth in white power movements