Filmman has once again been granted unprecedented access to a work of non-fiction that provokes equal parts anger, awe, derision and speculation as to the veracity of many of its varied ‘facts’.
Modern American Outlaws: one insider’s glimpse into the world of Nation’s Young Blood is a self-published work of non-fiction completed under self-professed ‘conditions of duress’. It is Matthias Niwalt’s unauthorized, hastily-written and sometimes unfocused account of the year he spent after being invited into the world of one of America’s most powerful fringe groups.
Its failings aside, it is impossible to think this is anything less than an important work from yet another very important American writer. For what we’ve been shown is, on its surface, the only insider’s account of a year in the life of the main members of Nation’s Young Blood, the most powerful and popular terrorist network America has ever seen.
Inside its pages, the book outlines the troubles and successes and failures and overall feeling these girls have of what they’re doing and what they likely will never achieve, but that they strive towards with no less than every ounce of effort they can gather.
It is a book of young women doing what they believe is right and of authorities trying to uphold the law in the face of so much public criminal support. And therein lies the idea of what the writer of this book gets so right. Niwalt paints not only the manner and means of the illicit activities of these girls but shows us what it is like to be detectives and police trying to do what is right in the face of so much popular support for the girls and dislike for the ‘good’ those same police are trying to uphold.
Regardless what you think of these girls and whether you believe they’re right or wrong, there is no question it is imperative to have a modern work of non-fiction able to get us so close to something we so desperately need to understand in a much deeper manner.
BOOK EXCERPT 1:
“These are my girls”, Kayla Morales said as she carried the shotgun with her arm pointing straight down. She never let that weapon go. She never set it down, she never placed it on her shoulder. So long as I was there and she was in my presence, that shotgun was like another appendage, always there, always moving, clearly placed on her body for a purpose. “These girls would do anything for me”, she continued as each ‘girl’ she mentioned walked by, paying proper deference to her and eyeing me with what seemed to be a pre-selected level of disdain.
We walked a long time in silence, before she stopped, placed the shotgun in a resting position in front of her and turned to face me. She looked at me a long moment, her beautiful green eyes staring into mine and it was then that I noticed how fragile she seemed, standing there in her combat vest and army fatigues and that ubiquitous gun cradled in front of her torso. In any other situation, she would be a beautiful, driven woman. But to me and all the others who are even slightly familiar with her group, she is a dangerous beautiful woman, driven by what many view as a cypher of a moment, a moment even more believe she egotistically used to drive her agenda to the heights it has reached.
She said nothing as she turned back around and we continued through the house these women all shared, an inner-city house not unlike a compound out in the midwest, where polygamists and religious fanatics can practice their devotions in relative seclusion. But this house isn’t secluded at all. These women operate in full view of one of the largest and best-funded police forces in this nation. And their continued success is a testament to the intelligence and drive of their leader, whose fully-realized visage was leading me into the heart of their operation. I knew right then, there was no going back.