John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

I recently read A Force Upon the Plain by Kenneth Stern, a book I bought no less than four years ago but never got around to reading. That turns out to have been something of a mistake, for time has not been kind to this book. A Force Upon the Plain is about the American militia movement. It was released in January 1996, less than a year after the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. At the time, militias and similar anti-government extremists were a big concern. The movement had been growing at an alarming rate for several years, and Oklahoma City proved that they were a legitimate threat.</br></br>The key word in that last sentence, of course, is "were." Oklahoma City proved to be the apotheosis of the American militia movement, and since then they've pretty much dropped off the radar. They're still out there, of course, and they're still saying some pretty outrageous things. But having said them, they don't act on them. And as a result people,have pretty much stopped listening, and are focusing attention on the kind of extremists who actually follow through on their threats.</br></br>Nevertheless, A Force Upon the Plain is an interesting snapshot of a particular time in recent American history, and a useful overview of the rise of the militia movement.

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