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Going Dark EXPORT
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Going Dark: the Secret Social Lives of Extremists de Julia Ebner
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In 1943, the best-selling book Under Cover by John Roy Carlson described the pro-Axis groups that thrived in the US before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Carlson — whose real name was Arthur Derounian — joined many of the groups he investigated, and the book was illustrated with many photos of his membership cards in such groups. It took America’s entry into the war to finally lead to a crackdown on a wide range of groups, of the largest of which was called the “America First Committee”. (That name might set off some alarm bells.)
Eight decades later, in a radically different world, once again pro-fascist, racist and anti-Semitic organisations are thriving, and not only in the US. Julia Ebner has followed in Carlson’s footsteps, infiltrating both extreme rightist and Islamist groups, largely online. At great personal risk, she has revealed how these groups operate and thrive, and the threat they pose to democracy.
This is a well-written book that should serve as a wake-up call to governments and civil society, as it exposes the online roots of a hatred that has increasingly manifested itself in terrorist attacks across the Western world.
'A scintillating journey into a secret world that is impacting our everyday lives in ways we are only just starting to grasp' Peter Pomerantsev 'Humanising, engrossing and alarming. Going Dark is not just an overdue, almost exhaustive journey of research into the lives of extremists, it is a public service' Nesrine Malik *A Guardian and New Scientist Pick for 2020* By day, Julia Ebner works at a counter-extremism think tank, monitoring radical groups from the outside. But two years ago, she began to feel she was only seeing half the picture; she needed to get inside the groups to truly understand them. She decided to go undercover in her spare hours o late nights, holidays, weekends o adopting five different identities, and joining a dozen extremist groups from across the ideological spectrum. Her journey would take her from a Generation Identity global strategy meeting in a pub in Mayfair, to a Neo-Nazi Music Festival on the border of Germany and Poland. She would get relationship advice from 'Trad Wives' and Jihadi Brides and hacking lessons from ISIS. She was in the channels when the alt-right began planning the lethal Charlottesville rally, and spent time in the networks that would radicalise the Christchurch terrorist. In Going Dark, Ebner takes the reader on a deeply compulsive journey into the darkest recesses of extremist thinking, exposing how closely we are surrounded by their fanatical ideology every day, the changing nature and practice of these groups, and what is being done to counter them.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)303.484092 — Social sciences Social Sciences Social Processes Social change Causes of change Purposefully induced change
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
Fes-te Autor del LibraryThing.
Anyone who wants to learn a little bit more about modern-day terrorism and extremism.
In a nutshell:
Author Ebner adopts different identities to explore - online and in person - different extremist groups, from neo-Nazis to ‘trad wives.’
“Almost everything is gamified today, and that includes terrorism.”
Why I chose it:
It just sounded interesting.
This book is interesting and deeply disturbing, but it also feels more like it should have been a multi-part investigative magazine series in something like The Atlantic. Ebner does attempt to create a lifecycle across the stories, starting with recruitment, then socialisation, communication, networking, mobilisation, and attack. And I appreciate that she explored many different extremist groups, but I think it would have been a stronger book if there had been aspects of different groups explored in each of the areas. Instead, she does a deeper dive into different groups (two per section, with their own standalone chapters), which doesn’t help much with seeing how the connections work across the same group.
The book ends with some predictions (some of which have more or less already come true) and some suggestions on how to counteract these extremist groups. But given that this book was published just last year, it feels almost sweetly naive in some ways. Not that Ebner herself is naive, but things have gone so bad so quickly - the 6 January insurrection in the US, the vile racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant laws passing in the UK - many of her suggestions seem like too little too late.
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