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"A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents"

By Rich Fisher


Tulsa, Oklahoma – Today, they are known as terrorists. A hundred years ago, they were basically known as anarchists. In the late 19th century, as nations across the globe suffered from dire economic recessions and various social and political problems, anarchist extremists made threats, devised plans, carried out assassinations, and worse. Author Alex Butterworth explores that tumultuous day and age in his new book, "The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents." We speak with Butterworth by phone on today's show. As one critic has noted of this book in The Washington Post: "[Butterworth] recounts in exhaustive detail the nefarious plots and schemes of both the anarchists and the spies who were determined to stop them. . . . [He] writes vivid, sustained passages that render the desperation behind such incidents. . . . In its thorough, compelling examination of anarchism, 'The World That Never Was' is not a chronicle of isolated violent acts committed by deranged individuals. Rather, it convincingly portrays anarchism as the product of an inexorable human impulse. And it leads one to ask if anarchism might again (or, perhaps, still) be lurking at the fringes of society."