In Bad Company

America's Terrorist Underground

By Mark S. Hamm
(Northeastern University Press, Hardcover, 9781555534929, 336pp.)

Publication Date: November 2001

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Description
The dramatic sieges at Randy Weaver's cabin in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, combined with the FBI's reluctance to admit wrongdoing in those tragic confrontations, fueled a virulent hatred of the federal government that unified previously isolated voices within the extreme radical right movement. As a result, the scores of clandestine paramilitary cells that flourished in the aftermath of Ruby Ridge and Waco formed a loosely knit underground network with a shared goal to violently overthrow the U.S. government.
This gripping volume explores one of the most dangerous of those phantom cells-the Aryan Republican Army (ARA). Based on trial transcripts, interviews, a secret diary, newspaper accounts, and ethnographic research, Mark S. Hamm provides a compelling history of the ARA, its organizers, and the revolutionary group's significance in supporting acts of domestic terrorism, including its previously unrecognized role in Timothy McVeigh's devastating bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He interweaves his narrative with a penetrating discussion of why people like McVeigh and the ARA members turn hatred into terrorist actions.
Hamm centers his riveting account of the ARA on the troubled life histories of founders Peter Kevin McGregor Langan and Richard "Wild Bill" Guthrie, as well as on profiles of the foot soldiers in the movement. He explores the similar social, cultural, and personal forces that attracted these men to the White Supremacy movement and Christian Identity, a theology that gives the blessing of God to the racist cause, and that drove them on a criminal path to terrorism. Drawing historical parallels with the motives and tactics of Jesse James and his gang's crime spree, Hamm focuses on how Langan and his paramilitary gang committed a string of professionally executed armed bank robberies to finance the overthrow of the federal government through such terrorist attacks as train derailments, assassinations, and bombings.
Hamm concludes this absorbing yet disconcerting journey through America's underground terrorist conspiracy by challenging the government's assertion that Timothy McVeigh acted as a lone wolf in the Oklahoma City bombing. Instead, he offers startling new evidence that connects McVeigh to the Aryan Republican Army.
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