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Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist
by Eli Saslow

Published: 2018-09-18
Hardcover : 304 pages
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From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, the powerful story of how a prominent white supremacist changed his heart and mind

Derek Black grew up at the epicenter of white nationalism. His father founded Stormfront, the largest racist community on the Internet. His godfather, David Duke, was ...
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From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, the powerful story of how a prominent white supremacist changed his heart and mind

Derek Black grew up at the epicenter of white nationalism. His father founded Stormfront, the largest racist community on the Internet. His godfather, David Duke, was a KKK Grand Wizard. By the time Derek turned nineteen, he had become an elected politician with his own daily radio show - already regarded as the "the leading light" of the burgeoning white nationalist movement. "We can infiltrate," Derek once told a crowd of white nationalists. "We can take the country back."
     Then he went to college. Derek had been home-schooled by his parents, steeped in the culture of white supremacy, and he had rarely encountered diverse perspectives or direct outrage against his beliefs. At New College of Florida, he continued to broadcast his radio show in secret each morning, living a double life until a classmate uncovered his identity and sent an email to the entire school. "Derek Black...white supremacist, radio host...New College student???"
     The ensuing uproar overtook one of the most liberal colleges in the country. Some students protested Derek's presence on campus, forcing him to reconcile for the first time with the ugliness his beliefs. Other students found the courage to reach out to him, including an Orthodox Jew who invited Derek to attend weekly Shabbat dinners. It was because of those dinners--and the wide-ranging relationships formed at that table--that Derek started to question the science, history and prejudices behind his worldview. As white nationalism infiltrated the political mainstream, Derek decided to confront the damage he had done.
    Rising Out of Hatred tells the story of how white-supremacist ideas migrated from the far-right fringe to the White House through the intensely personal saga of one man who eventually disavowed everything he was taught to believe, at tremendous personal cost. With great empathy and narrative verve, Eli Saslow asks what Derek's story can tell us about America's increasingly divided nature. This is a book to help us understand the American moment and to help us better understand one another.

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Absent the political bias, it is 5 stars.
by thewanderingjew (see profile) 06/11/20
Rising Out of Hatred, Eli Saslow, author; Scott Brick, narrator Is it possible for me to write an honest review of this book without being crushed by hateful comments in this angry election season rife with protests? I am not sure, however, at my own peril, I will try to write a brief description of my honest thoughts about this book. Judging from other reviews, I believe few people on the right have read it. Essentially, Eli Saslow has branded me as a racist or worse, a white supremacist, if I do not agree with the premise and principals expressed in his book. Neither judgment would be accurate or fair, but if anyone reads this book and does not fact check or attempt to learn about both sides of the issue, since especially today it is so volatile, that is the name with which I will be branded. As a matter of fact, he even mentions in one context, that if you say you are not a racist, you most definitely are. Therefore, agree with him or you are damned. It is for that reason that I gave the book only 2 stars. Had the author presented an unbiased critique, rather than a piece of propaganda that attempts to trash President Trump, and his supporters, without highlighting any of his accomplishments for minorities, I would have given it 5 stars. The story of Derek Black is interesting, as he attempts to free himself from the hate and the hateful environment in which he was raised. It would have been more inspirational had his difficult road been presented in a fair and unbiased way, absent of the politics. I believe that there is no excuse for Saslow’s false presentation of not only my position and concerns, but of the position of anyone who rejects all of his judgments. I do not believe that you can have reform in a society that paints one group with a broad brush to blame it and uses the same broad brush to excuse a group it paints as its polar opposite. We cannot be expected to believe that there are no alternative views allowed, regarding the idea that racism exists. We can all agree that racism is a horrendous problem, but we cannot all agree that we are all racists if we disagree with some of the precepts presented. Saslow attempts to sully the word white whenever it is joined to descriptive words like nationalism, conflating it with Nazis or National Socialists. He does not do that with the word Socialism because it fits his narrative in favor of the liberal platform. I found it a bit unnerving that he wrote this book before the world exploded with marches against police brutality, almost as if there was a master plan in the works to promote the protesters before the 2020 election, and he knew that it was coming to disrupt it. Briefly, the author presents the story of Derek Black, raised in the home of virulent white supremacists, who for decades, harbored a wish to rid the country of all non-white residents, albeit, with non-violent means. Don Black founded Stormfront, the largest racist community on the internet and Derek’s godfather is David Duke, the Grand Wizard of the KKK. The group promotes the theory of white genocide, which is a myth but rouses the troops. Supremacists glom onto it like flies to honey. Derek is viewed as the great white hope of these White Nationalists, the man to follow his father, Don. As Derek comes of age and is more socialized, meeting people from all walks of life, their influence forces him to rethink his position as their future leader and current very important spokesperson of this group his father leads. He begins to realize how heinous is the attitude that he has been supporting and that his family has been encouraging. How he comes to change his mind, using his influence to change the minds of others, comes to light in this book. However, the valuable message is tainted by the completely radical left wing view of the author which is front and center and demeans the message by telling only one side of the story, the side promoting Saslow’s political leanings. When you get to the final chapters, you realize that all of the subtly presented insults peppering the book, about Trump and his supporters, begin to scream and screech with a louder voice. He criticizes without giving any credit, he smears with innuendo and without proof, he uses highly insulting language. He cites the fact that white people overwhelmingly supported President Trump but makes no mention of the fact that the black community overwhelmingly supported Obama, as did the white community. Saslow disregards the fact that racism became a far greater problem during Obama’s Presidency because of many of the decisions his administration made. For instance, the investigation of the New Black Panther's interference in elections was dropped by his wingman, Attorney General Eric Holder. Then we had Obama's knee jerk reaction and immediate condemnation of the Police when they approached a black man that they did not know was a professor breaking into his own house. His comment that Trayvon Martin could have been his son, without owning that there are murders committed by people that could also have been his son, was disingenuous. Nowhere in this book does Saslow condemn Obama for the climate that encouraged the White Supremacists to support Trump, he merely decides that Trump is using their slogans, although he is not using the words in the same way. In no place does he discuss how Trump has advantaged the communities of color, although there is an abundance of information available. Articles by Larry Elder, Candace Owens, Pastor Darrell Scott, Ben Carson, and many others, inform the community about the First Step Act, Opportunity Zones, the additional funding for black schools and colleges, prison reform, and improved employment opportunities, among other things. Further the author suggests that West Palm Beach is overwhelmingly Republican and voted for Trump. As a Florida resident, I find it hard to believe. Since Palm Beach County, of which West Palm Beach is a part, is a bastion of liberalism which this article explains. According to one source, bestplaces.net, “Palm Beach County, Florida is leaning liberal. In Palm Beach County, FL 56.2% of the people voted Democrat in the last presidential election, 40.9% voted Republican, and the remaining 2% voted Independent. Palm Beach County voted Democratic in the previous five Presidential elections.” The author has used his pen to spin the information to present his opinion, but has not necessarily presented facts. The author presents a well-deserved highly negative view of David Duke and his rejuvenation of the KKK, but he never mentions that it was the original tool of the Democrats, with the longest serving Democrat Congressman having led a local chapter. Congress honored Robert Byrd and accepted his apology, an attitude of forgiveness for sins that they do not afford to others on the right and Bryd’s sin was egregious, wanting to rid the country of “race mongrels”. Therefore, I do not recommend this book. Surely there are books about Derek Black that are not as partisan as Saslow has shown himself to be. It is the moment of truth that Derek Black reaches that is the important message of this book, not Saslow’s politics. Derek Black realized, through the relationships he developed with all types of people that he treasured, that members of his family were sadly misguided. Still, he never cut all ties with them, and hoped to either change their views or at least to remain a limited member of his family. Because we are living in a climate of censorship, with angry protests shutting down any dissenting voices with hateful name calling and condemnation, I will write no more than I already have. However, personally, I do not believe that it is criminal, disrespectful or shameful to consider groups like Black Lives Matter that wants to defund the police, or Antifa that encourages violence, as problematic. When they object to all law enforcement, I have to question their motives. There is room for discussion, but not with groups that shout it down. The author has used half truths to promote his liberal agenda. He has also engaged in despicable adjectives to make sure that the reader dislikes the President and any of his supporters. I despise White Nationalism, White Supremacy and Racism, but I support free speech! If you want equality, you should want it for all people, not just those who echo your own opinions. The book is a piece of propaganda to promote his agenda.

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by thewanderingjew (see profile) 06/11/20

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