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Feb. 8, 2019

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A book documenting the rise of the radical right in the United States, by Wilfrid Laurier University historian Darren Mulloy, has been named one of the best academic titles of 2018.

Choice magazine, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, publishes an annual Outstanding Academic Titles list. Mulloy’s book, Enemies of the State: The Radical Right in America from FDR to Trump, is one of 34 books about North American history chosen this year and one of 455 books chosen overall.

While Choice makes its full list available only to subscribers, Mulloy’s book is one of just five chosen for a public “sneak peek” list of books about U.S. politics.

“It’s extremely gratifying to receive this designation,” says Mulloy, a professor and chair of the Department of History on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. “When you are writing a book, after spending many, many hours alone, staring at a screen, you hope that it will have some kind of impact on the wider world, that it will resonate with people. For academic work especially, it can often take a long time for this impact to manifest itself, so to get this kind of response so soon and from such a prestigious source is really rewarding.”

Reviews of Enemies of the State have been overwhelmingly positive, with Midwest Book Review saying, “No American history collection should be without this powerful survey of how America got to this point in time,” and Booklist calling it “invaluable.”

The book examines how conspiracy theories, demagoguery, extreme language and overt racism have been used by elements of the right since the 1930s and how they have moved from the fringe to the mainstream. 

Though the book was published last year, Mulloy has been continuing to watch American political developments.

“I think the argument that I made in the book is standing up, which is good,” he says. “However, on the less positive side, there is still little indication that the deep-rooted dysfunction and radicalism that is currently gripping the American political system is on the wane.”

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