The Marauders: Standing Up to Vigilantes in the American Borderlands

Patrick Strickland. Melville House, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61219-926-9
Journalist Strickland (Alerta! Alerta!) spotlights in this vivid, character-driven report one Arizona town’s efforts to fight back against “a flood of extremely dangerous, virulently racist, and heavily armed outsiders” who have flocked to the U.S. border with Mexico in recent years. He briskly recounts previous waves of anti-immigrant persecution, including the burning of Irish Catholic churches in Philadelphia in 1844 and the 1919 Palmer Raids that led to the deportation of hundreds of Italians and Eastern European Jews, linking these events to the resurgence of the “white supremacist movement” during Donald Trump’s presidency. Scarred by a 2009 incident in which “rogue militiamen” killed a man and his nine-year-old daughter during a home invasion, residents of Arivaca, Ariz., lobbied local businesses to ban militia members and erected antimilitia signs around town. The vigilantes and their supporters responded by livestreaming confrontations with locals and “accusing any vaguely humanitarian-minded Arivacan” of connections to Mexican drug cartels and child sex traffickers. Strickland profiles residents who spearheaded the campaign as well as those who welcomed the vigilantes, documents the extensive criminal records of militia members, and notes “the cozy relationship between many law enforcement agencies and radical right-wing groups.” The result is a fascinating and often harrowing portrait of a community in the crosshairs. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/15/2021
Release date: 01/25/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
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