Houston Matters

Lessons From Six Years Embedded With White Supremacist Groups

Journalist Vegas Tenold talks about his book, “Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America.”

White nationalists carry torches on the eve of a Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

While he was in graduate school, journalist Vegas Tenold spent six years getting to know members of some of the most violent white supremacist groups around the country.

As he gained their trust, Tenold had access to their conventions, backroom meetings, and even violent clashes with counter-protesters.

He wrote about the experience in his book, Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America.

In November, he visited Houston to speak at an FBI anti-extremism seminar. While he was in town, he told Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty that – because he didn’t have a particular deadline like a working journalist – he had the luxury of time. And that allowed him to get closer and closer to the extremists he met.

MORE: Vegas Tenold on NPR’s Morning Edition

Vegas Tenold in the Houston Matters studios
Journalist Vegas Tenold in the Houston Matters studios.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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