EUGENE H. METHVINGeneMethvin.jpg (15047 bytes)


Biographical Sketch

Eugene Hilburn Methvin is the son and grandson of a family of Georgia newspaper men and women. He was born September 19, 1934, in Vienna, Ga., where his parents published a country weekly, The Vienna News (After his father's death in 1953, his mother continued to operate the newspaper until her retirement in 1974, in her 75th year.)

Methvin began his journalism education by sleeping on a bale of newsprint every Thursday night while his parents met the weekly deadline. At the age of four, he got into a bucket of ink behind the family's flatbed cylinder press, and not even a gasoline bath could get all the printer's ink out of him. He started as a reporter (leg man only) before he could write, for at the age of five he would wander around the streets of his home town with pad and pencil asking residents to write down their news for him. Vienna, with a population of 2000, was a two-newspaper town in those days, chiefly as a result of his father's differences with a number of courthouse officials over a lynching, expressed in front-page editorials. Once while covering his beat, young Methvin encountered an assembly of grownups in one store gathered around the cracker barrel, and they offered a number of humorous quotes about the alleged superiorities of the opposition newspaper. Reporter Methvin promptly provided editorial comment: "Y'all are just a bunch of old damn fools," he declared. Whereupon he looked up and saw the town's Baptist preacher standing in the circle, so he quickly amended his copy: "All 'cep you, 'cause you work in the church-house," he said. Which, the preacher later declared from the pulpit, proved the youngster would make a good editor "because he knows who to call a damn fool and who to let alone."

Methvin studied journalism at the University of Georgia School of Journalism. On campus he lettered in football and debate. He belonged to Sigma Nu fraternity, and the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, which named him the outstanding male graduate of 1955. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and worked briefly as a reporter on the Atlanta Constitution. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree, cum laude, with a supplementary major and postgraduate study in law at the University of Georgia School of Law.

After graduation he spent three years in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot flying the F-86 and F-102 all-weather interceptors. In 1958 he joined the Washington Daily News as a general assignment reporter. He did graduate study in philosophy and international relations at the Youngstown, American and George Washington Universities. In 1960 he joined the Reader's Digest Washington bureau, and served as associate editor and senior editor until 1996. He then retired from fulltime staff and became a contributing editor until February 2002 when he ended his 42-year career with the magazine.

Methvin contributed more than one hundred articles to the U.S. Reader’s Digest and its 48 edition in 19 languages, reaching more than 100 million readers worldwide. His articles covered such diverse topics as the U.S. Supreme Court, civil liberties and constitutional law; crime and law enforcement; conservation; and waste in government, terrorism and hate movements on the domestic scene, to U.S. defense posture, Kremlin politics and Russian-American relations, and international terrorist groups. His "swan song" was a July 2001 article about a rank-and-file crusader who helped break the back of a corrupt racketeering organization in the New York City employes union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employes Union District Council 37.

An article by Methvin in the January '65 Reader's Digest, "How the Reds Make a Riot," won the magazine the coveted award for public service in magazine journalism given annually by the Society for Professional Journalists.

Methvin was the prime author of a series of hard-hitting Reader's Digest articles in 1970-72 that played a key role in shaping the federal government's war on organized crime. The proposed Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, including the famous "RICO" statute, was snugly corked in committee in Congress, and Chairman Emmanuel Cellar (D., N.Y.) of the House Judiciary Committee was determined to kill it there. But so much mail poured in to Congress as a result of two Methvin articles ("How the Mafia Preys on the Poor," September '70; and "The Mafia War on the A&P," July '70) that a discharged petition forced Celler to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote. "I've got to get that blankety-blank Reader's Digest off my back," he grumbled. When the bill passed overwhelmingly, 341 to 26, Sen. John McClellan, its chief architect, expressed his thanks to Methvin for his "especially significant contribution to the passage of this measure." And Attorney General John Mitchell sent him a pen used by President Nixon to sign the bill, expressing the Administration's gratitude "for the part you played in bringing this important crime legislation into being." Ironically, three years later it was this law's limited testimonial immunity provision that enabled the Senate Watergate Committee to compel White House Counsel John Dean to testify, leading ultimately to Mitchell's subsequent imprisonment and President Nixon's resignation.

Methvin and the Digest were sued for $4 million by an organized crime figure named in one of his articles. After he presented his documentation and deposition on his investigation, a New York State judge dismissed the suit, declaring, "Documentation supplied by defendants showed they acted responsibly in extensively investigating all aspects of the story, which was imbued with legitimate public concern." Methvin, who considers himself still a "shoe-leather reporter" at heart, declares he would be happy to have the judge's ruling engraved on his tombstone.

Methvin has written two books. The Riot Makers - The Technology of Social Demolition was published in 1970. Commented the Publisher's Weekly: "Methvin's detailed study of the mass manipulation of crowds for disruptive ends carries conviction and is consistently interesting, at times engrossingly dramatic." Walter Trohan in the Chicago Tribune called it "one of the most important studies undertaken of our contemporary society. No one can pretend to discuss this problem until he has read this book." Morris Ernst, author, columnist and veteran civil liberties lawyer, declared, "Having spent much of my life in defense of the use of reason as opposed to decision by violence, I consider this book the most important contribution of the last few years to the cause of the First Amendment."

Methvin's second book, The Rise of Radicalism - The Social Psychology of Messianic Extremism, was published in 1973. In USA Magazine Alice Widener proclaimed it "a masterpiece, answering the question about extremists, 'How do they get that way?'" "Well researched and highly readable, it should supersede the many works extant on the subject," declared the The National Review. The Washington Star found it "solid, fact-studded history and analysis . . . Methvin is neither a crusader nor alarmist but a penetrating scholar and thoughtful observer." Modern Age said, "With scholarship and charm, this book has the sweep and power to commend it to both the expert and the general reader."

Methvin is a past president of the Washington Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and served on the organization's national board of directors. He has also served as a director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Leadership Institute, and the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund; a vice president of the University of Georgia Alumni Society; a member of the advisory board of the University of Georgia Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications; and a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Georgia Libraries. He has lectured frequently and widely on journalism, law enforcement, constitutional law, mass manipulation, terrorism, and the technology of social demolition.

Methvin has reported on the American criminal justice system for more than fifty years, commencing with his first daily newspaper job in 1952 covering police and courts on the Atlanta Constitution. The late Marvin Wolfgang, dean of American criminologists and past president and fellow of the American Society of Criminology, wrote of Methvin, "No journalist or reporter knows more about criminology." In 1983 President Reagan named Methvin as one of the 19 members of the President's Commission on Organized Crime. Methvin supervised the Commission's investigation and hearings on labor-management racketeering, and a supplemental statement he wrote on the entrenched racketeering in the Teamsters Union was presented by the Justice Department as documentation with its original complaint in the 1988 civil RICO lawsuit that resulted in a government monitorship and the first free election in Teamster Union history.

In 1995 the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named Methvin to its "Hall of Fame" for "exemplary professional achievements, outstanding service to other members of the profession and lifelong dedication to the highest standards of journalism."

Methvin lives at 8111 Georgetown Pike in McLean, VA, 22102. He is a member of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Mclean. His wife of 41 years, the former Barbara Lester of Byromville, GA.was killed on March 31, 2000, by a speeding automobile as she crossed the road in front of their home. They have two daughters, Helen Methvin Payne, an architect, and Claudia Methvin, a physician; and two grand-daughters, Caroline and Julia Payne.



Updated 3 5 02


EHM articles online

 RD May 1980 Scientology article,  Anatomy of a Frightening Cult

RD October 1981 article:  Scientology: The Sickness Spreads

National Review Online, 9 11 02, "Our Spies Failed Us" Analysis of intellegence Failures before Al Queda attack

Policy Review, July/August 1997, "Mugged by Reality" report on criminal justice research and advances over past twenty years.


 The Weekly Standard, August 31, 1998, “A Corrupt Union and the Mob" on LIUNA, plus Robt. Luskin response and EHM rejoinder.

Reader’s Digest, reprints of the following seven EHM articles on union racketeering.



BY Eugene H. Methvin


BY Eugene H. Methvin


BY Eugene H. Methvin

?4 November, 1987 "A UNION IN BONDAGE TO THE MOB"

BY Eugene H. Methvin


BY Eugene H. Methvin


BY Eugene H. Methvin


BY Eugene H. Methvin

July 1986 RD article, “It’s Time to Put Labor Racketeers Out of Business,” insreted in Congressional Record by Sen. Sam Nunn (D., Ga.)

Atlanta Journal Constitution Feb. 27, 2004, op-ed column, “Bush’s Guard Duty Was Honorable,”

“Confederate Memorial Day,” Clayton (Ga.) Daily, 4 27 89.


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