Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

The Rise of the Alt-Right, Thomas J. Main

Reviewed by George Hawley

BUY

 

The rapid growth of the so-called alt-right (the latest iteration of the white nationalist movement) was among the more surprising and disturbing developments of the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle. The term “alt-right” has since become a fixture of U.S. political discourse, though I would argue that the movement has mostly imploded over the last few years. It nonetheless warrants scholarly attention.

As a movement, the alt-right was deliberately amorphous and confusing. In this book, Thomas J. Main attempts to clarify the philosophical foundations of the alt-right and simultaneously explain why the alt-right worldview is built on erroneous premises.

Main’s second chapter, in which he attempts to gauge the size of the alt-right at the time of writing, is arguably the book’s most important contribution. Estimating the size of a mostly online and predominantly anonymous movement requires a lot of guess work. Main relies on web traffic, one of the few available empirical measures we have. He determines that the alt-right’s leading websites had audiences comparable in size to important mainstream venues such as the Washington Monthly and Harpers. Its readership was much smaller, however, than that of larger and more mainstream right-wing political publications such as Nati

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

Welcoming New Americans? Local Governments and Immigrant Incorporation, Abigail Fisher Williamson Reviewed by George Hawley

White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics, Zoltan L. Hajnal and Marisa Abrajano Reviewed by George Hawley

About PSQ's Editor

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

WEBINAR
The History and Future of Planetary Threats: Fareed Zakaria’s Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World
December 8, 2020

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

Editor’s spotlight

Voting and the Electorate

The Racial Gap in Wait Times: Why Minority Precincts Are Underserved by Local Election Officials
STEPHEN PETTIGREW

The Impact of Voter Fraud Claims on Voter Registration Reform Legislation
MARGARET GROARKE

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Presidential Selection and Democracy   PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS