Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetimeby Ron Stallworth Published 05 Jun 2018
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In 1978 the community of Colorado Springs, Colorado experienced a growth of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) membership. One man dared to challenge their effort and thwart attempts to take over the city, Police Detective Ron Stallworth. He launched an undercover investigation into the Klan, gained membership into the organization, briefly served as Duke's bodyguard, and was eventually asked to be the leader of the Colorado Springs chapter. The irony of this investigation was that Stallworth is… A Black man. In the process he battled internal departmental politics to successfully pull off this "sting." Black Klansman explains how he overcame these obstacles and accomplished this almost unbelievable unique achievement.
"Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime" Reviews
I wanted to like this book. There's a great story here, it's just that it was boring, I didn't quite like the way the author came across, and I had a hard time getting through some parts of this. There were so many abbreviated groups that after a while I stopped caring which group was on what side. I also hated how every so often the author had to remind the reader how he was the one in charge of the investigation by parenthesizing that he was the one the KKK members were talking to, even when some of the conversations were with his partner playing him undercover. He didn't need to keep reminding me that it was him running the show.
The story lacked suspense for me. I never felt fear wondering if Ron and his crew were going to get caught in their lie. I failed to learn more than what I already superficially know about the KKK. I was hoping to learn something here but I don't feel like that was the case.
The pictures included here were as boring as the story. And I don't want to say how "conveniently" that picture of Ron and David Duke disappeared, but I didn't buy that it got lost throughout the years. Such a historic picture, one that you could pass on to your grandkids for its historic importance, and I'm supposed to believe it's not one of your most guarded treasures? Not buying it.
Also wish to know what the KKK thought of being infiltrated by a black man. I'm hoping the movie will be much better.
To really appreciate this book, you have to ask yourself, "what if I had to befriend my enemies?" For Detective Ron Stallworth, it goes beyond that - diving deep into secret rituals, cross-burning, race meetings and more, he joins the Ku Klux Klan undercover as one member of one of the most frightening and frankly bizarre groups to exist within the United States. As the story continues, at its core it becomes less about racism and more about morality or lack thereof, and why such hatred thrives in supposedly one of the most tolerant and free countries in the world. Instead of painting the KKK as pure evil, Stallworth looks at the complexity of the group and what drives its members towards heinous acts and an irrational aversion to non-whites and multiculturalism. As he gets closer to Grand Wizard David Duke, his position becomes even more endangered of being discovered.
Black Klansman is a disturbing tale at times, and one that I'd hope wouldn't be a reality in this day and age, but the KKK still exists today, spreading to new audiences using the internet and still doing the ol' cross-burning in the woods bit, among other things, including petty crime and spreading propaganda. It can't be denied that though the KKK is more of a fringe group these days, it's still fully functioning, which is a scary reality. Black Klansman is therefore very timely, but it's also a strong image of the 1970's era and one man's dedication to understanding. It's honestly one of the best memoirs I've ever read, with all the integrity and spirit of the film Fried Green Tomatoes and all the depth and humanity of Schindler's List. I wasn't expecting it to be as complex as it was, but it's such an amazing story and one that everybody should read.
A fascinating story that made for a medicore storytelling experience. Stallworth could have benefitted from a ghostwriter and a heavy-handed editor. Forty year old petty grievaces against co-workers don't belong in a biography, and neither does repetition after repetition (...) His sidebars and commentary are flat with little to no nuance and description.
Where this book shines (entertains?) is in exposing what a hack many of these hate groups are/were in the 1970s. Advertising their meetings in the newspaper? David Duke answering the national headquarters phone line?
2.5/5, rounded up because of anticipation for the Spike Lee film (which will undoubtedly include better storytelling).
Black Klansman is such an intriguing story. It's a true story about a black undercover cop who infiltrates the local KKK over the phone. A movie is coming out by Jordan Peele & Spike Lee, and I'm really looking forward to it.
It was interesting to see what's changed since the 70s and what hasn't. I know some people think that racism doesn't exist anymore, or it's so much "better" now, but so many of the fucked up things that were said in this book felt familiar to today's shitty American culture. People are still hateful, they're just expressing it a little differently sometimes.
One thing that was so crazy to me was that the KKK members were so driven by hatred that they wanted to talk about it on the phone ALL THE TIME - to the point that Ron was able to build relationships / infiltrate over the phone. All of their other behavior was already weird, and this was just another piece added on to all the strangeness. The members were delusional, sad, cowardly, and afraid, and this book sheds some light on their behavior. There were some cult aspects, and the leaders sort of reminded me of Manson in the way that they were trying to bring about paranoia and panic because of race.
Ron was brave, bold, and amusing. I really enjoyed reading the story from his point of view, and their were some pretty hilarious parts, especially his interactions with David Duke. I appreciate that Ron was willing to tell his story.
Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for sending me a copy of this!
I’d first heard about Black Klansman after seeing a trailer for the forthcoming Spike Lee movie.
I’ve always been interested in the period of American history, so I instantly wanted to see it.
As my local multiplex has delaying the release by a week (possibly because of the Bank Holiday in England?) and then discovering that it’s based on the memoirs of Ron Stallworth, the book instantly jumped to the top of my reading pile.
It tells the story of Stallworth a black police officer in Colorado Springs who infiltrated the ‘KKK’ during the late 1970’s.
As Ron responds to an advertisement about joining the group whilst posing as a white man.
As it’s a memoir the writing style does feel slightly police procedural at times but it gave a sense of authenticity throughout.
I instantly could hear Ron’s voice from the opening chapter.
It’s such a fascinating account, I’m really hoping to catch the movie this weekend!
Read like a police report, sort of dry and repetitive....The story is compelling, but a shame he had to wait so long to tell it. Biggest take away - people who belong to hate groups are not very bright.