In the Name of God and Country by Michael Fellman
Reconsidering Terrorism in American History

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With insight and originality, Michael Fellman argues that terrorism, in various forms, has been a constant and driving force in American history. In part, this is due to the nature of American republicanism and Protestant Christianity, which he believes contain a core of moral absolutism and self-righteousness that perpetrators of terrorism use to justify their actions. Fellman also argues that there is an intrinsic relationship between terrorist acts by non-state groups and responses on the part of the state; unlike many observers, he believes that both the action and the reaction constitute terrorism.

Fellman’s compelling narrative focuses on five key episodes: John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry; terrorism during the American Civil War, especially race warfare and guerrilla warfare; the organized “White Line” paramilitary destruction of Reconstruction in Mississippi; the Haymarket Affair and its aftermath; and the Philippine-American war of 1899–1902. In an epilogue, he applies this history to illuminate the Bush-Cheney administration’s use of terrorism in the so-called war on terror. In the Name of God and Country demonstrates the centrality of terrorism in shaping America even to this day.


About Michael Fellman

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Michael Fellman is professor of history emeritus at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Published January 5, 2010 by Yale University Press. 288 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Fellman shows that throughout American history “the uses of political violence have been motivated by religious certitude coupled with psychological anxiety.” In a brief coda, the author argues that “these historical cases created the political template for modern-day American terrorism following...

Oct 26 2009 | Read Full Review of In the Name of God and Countr...

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