Interview with Eugene Methvin, March 29, 2011

Collection: Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection

Dublin Core


Powell Moore interviews Eugene Methvin about his Georgia roots and his life as a journalist and writer and editor for Reader's Digest. Eugene Methvin discusses his early life in Vienna, Georgia, and his family history of journalism and newspaper ownership. He recalls his starting position in the back end of the print shop and attending the University of Georgia to study journalism. He discusses working for the student newspaper the Red & Black. Methvin reflects on playing football for the University of Georgia and interning at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He discusses covering the police beat and courts. Methvin comments on his experience in the Air Force after graduating in 1955. He discusses his first assignment for Reader's Digest. Methvin discusses his coverage of rural electrification and organized crime. He discusses his findings regarding organized crime and how they lead to the Omnibus Crime Act in 1970. Methvin comments on contemporary treatment of Al Qaeda and on how US courts should approach them. Methvin discusses his opinion on Scientology and reflects on the article he wrote denouncing the religion. He comments on his experience writing his two books. Methven reflects on his research on riots and his perception of the Soviet Union as unstable. Methvin discusses the similarities between the mafia and communism. He recalls the effect of the draft on the University of Georgia and discusses his involvement with the university.

Eugene Methvin was born in 1934 in Vienna, Georgia, into a family of journalists and newspaper publishers. He attended the University of Georgia, graduating with a degree in journalism in 1955. After spending three years in the Air Force as a jet fighter pilot, Methvin joined the Washington Daily News. In 1960 he went to Reader's Digest, serving in the Washington Bureau and rising to senior editor. Methvin's series of articles on organized crime for Reader's Digest in 1970-1972 had a significant influence on the creation and enactment of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. His books, The Riot Makers (1970) and The Rise of Radicalism (1973) were among the first to analyze the psychology of fringe organizations, revolutionary groups, and terrorists. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan named Methvin to the President's Commission on Organized Crime.






Oral History Item Type Metadata



90 minutes


Eugene Methvin and Powell Moore, “Interview with Eugene Methvin, March 29, 2011,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed December 3, 2022,