Up in Arms: How the Bundy Family Hijacked Public Lands, Outfoxed the Federal Government, and Ignited America’s Patriot Militia Movement
John Temple. BenBella, $24.95 (330p) ISBN 978-1-946885-95-1
Journalism professor Temple follows 2015’s American Pain with this intelligent, impeccably researched deep dive into two clashes between the federal government and right-wing antigovernment protesters. On Apr. 5, 2014, 21 years after rancher Cliven Bundy stopped paying grazing fees to protest perceived federal overreach, the Bureau of Land Management began seizing the cattle he was illegally grazing on federal lands, in the process arresting one of his sons for photographing them and, later, tasing another during a rally. Then, in 2016, incensed by the conviction of two ranchers for setting unauthorized controlled burns on federal lands, Bundy’s son Ammon led a group of militia members and other supporters to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in protest. Though the feds acted more cautiously this time, one occupier was killed while reaching for his gun during an arrest. Temple argues that the federal government’s mishandling of these situations and the movement’s use of social media led to far more media coverage than these incidents would otherwise have garnered. He also explores the ideological roots of the constitutionalist Patriot movement of which the Bundy family is a highly visible part, tracing it back to the early Mormon belief that the Constitution is divinely inspired and the belief that federal control of grazing lands tramples states’ rights. Temple’s even-handed and painstaking reportage yields a clear and unbiased portrait of this subsection of the movement. (June)
Correction: An earlier version of this review referred to the book's author using an incorrect last name in one instance.
Reviewed on: 07/18/2019
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