White Hot Hate: A True Story of Domestic Terrorism in America's Heartland (Paperback)
For fans of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, the thrilling true story of a would-be terrorist attack against a Kansas farming town’s immigrant community, and the FBI informant who exposed it.
In the spring of 2016, as immigration debates rocked the United States, three men in a militia group known as the Crusaders grew aggravated over one Kansas town’s growing Somali community. They decided that complaining about their new neighbors and threatening them directly wasn’t enough. The men plotted to bomb a mosque, aiming to kill hundreds and inspire other attacks against Muslims in America. But they decided to wait until after the presidential election, so that their actions wouldn’t hurt Donald Trump’s chances of winning.
An FBI informant befriended the three men, acting as law enforcement’s eyes and ears for eight months. His secretly taped conversations with the militia were pivotal in obstructing their plans and were a lynchpin in the resulting trial and convictions for conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.
White Hot Hate tells the riveting true story of an averted case of domestic terrorism in one of the most remote towns in the US, not far from the infamous town where Capote’s In Cold Blood was set. In the gripping details of this foiled scheme, we see in intimate focus the chilling, immediate threat of domestic terrorism—and racist anxiety in America writ large.
“When we wonder about the how and why of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, White Hot Hate begins to provide an explanation. It is riveting and revelatory.” — Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist
“White Hot Hate is a well-written, deeply reported account of how a group of right-wing extremists living in Kansas came together to plot terrorist attacks, and it couldn’t be more timely now.” — Peter Bergen, author of The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden
“White Hot Hate is both a fascinating primer on radicalization and a page-turning, cinematic legal thriller. Encouraged by a white supremacist presidential candidate fomenting fear of immigrant ‘infestation,’ a small group of extremists plots an attack that would have caused more death and destruction than the horrific 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. A single witness to their plot manages to stop it, saving hundreds of lives and serving as a model of moral courage. The story teaches us about the potential power of a single, valiant voice.” — Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God and member of the Homeland Security Experts Group
“Lehr is a seasoned journalist whose distinguished career includes crisply probed accounts of organized crime bosses and police brutality coverups. In this report, his lucid investigative prowess once again creates a dramatic tapestry of hate, hope, and justice. He also offers a cautionary reminder about the pervasive presence of political extremism in America.” — Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)
“Pulitzer finalist Lehr delivers a dramatic chronicle of a domestic terrorist plot thwarted by the FBI…. The result is a chilling and finely wrought portrait of the threat of political extremism.” — Publishers Weekly, (starred review)