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Publisher's Summary

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 19, 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 homeschooled 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.

©2018 Eli Saslow (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“This is a double portrait: of a worse America, and of a better one. Neither of them has yet come to pass, but each of them might.  Thanks to reporting that is both truthful and humane, we see in one young man's decision a guide to the choices that face a generation and a country." (Timothy Snyder, New York Times best-selling author of On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom)
 

“The story of Derek Black is the human being at his gutsy, self-reflecting, revolutionary best, told by one of America’s best storytellers at his very best. Rising out of Hatred proclaims if the successor to the white nationalist movement can forsake his ideological upbringing, can rebirth himself in antiracism, then we can too no matter the personal cost. This book is an inspiration.” (Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America)

"No one can match Eli Saslow's skill at telling the most improbable, humane, and riveting tales of our time. Anyone despairing at the hate that has fueled so much of America's politics ought to read this unforgettable story." (Jane Mayer, New York Times best-selling author of Dark Money)

"This is a beautiful and important book. I am a changed person for having read it. If my father were still alive, there would be no book I’d rather discuss with him than this. There are gorgeous, brilliant souls at work in this powerfully told story, and they are everything that’s right and promising about our future.” (Elisha Wiesel, son of Elie and Marion Wiesel and chairman of the WVN Elie Wiesel Award) 

What members say

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Essential reading in this time

What were the neo-nazis in Charlottesville thinking? What’s their, and the current administration’s, endgame? White nationalism is scarier and more influential now than ever. This window into the paranoid mass delusion of white nationalists is essential reading given their friends in the White house and their rising power. Derek Black’s awakening from the pseudoscientific trance fueling fears of “white genocide” provides important lessons for fighting back against a movement that seeks nothing short of total white dominance that spares the suffering of no one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Such an important book of the era

This, imo, will be one of the most important texts of this era. The heir apparent to the white supremacist movement in America, through exposure, changed his beliefs and renounced WS. The book concisely and effectively weaves into the narrative, how President Trump co-oped the same rhetoric and used the same fears of white Americans, to ascend to the top of the Republican ticket and into the White House. It explains how your family members came to be sharing coded WS propaganda on FB. Most importantly though it is a story of hope. If the God son of David Duke can come to see the world in a different light, there's a chance for us all.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Great book. Very relatable as a former racist southerner.

I can relate, somewhat, to Derek’s story. I was never a white-nationalist, but I did hold a common southern cultural attitude against minorities and homosexuals. I remember being angry when Obama was elected, playing racist Johnny Rebel and old David Alan Coe songs, following the Tea Party movement, defending the Confederacy, and listening exclusively to Fox News and conservative talk radio. It really wasn’t until I begrudgingly watched a documentary called The Brainwashing of My Dad and began reading books not written by Dinesh D’Souza, Ann Coulter, or Jerome Corsi, that my racist armor began to chip away. Now, just a few years later, I am also ashamed of my past. I can’t imagine what it must be like for Derek after listening to his story, but I’m proud of him and I hope he inspires more people to leave that hateful ideology. Sorry to ramble, but this book really hit home for me and I can recommend it enough, especially if you’re from the South.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Perfect Way To open A Conversation

I bought this book because Travor Noah was talking about this book and his interview makes me curious about him. I've always wonder how can people join or even believe the idea of white nationalist because the foundation of the believe they had was just Ludacris. So how does someone who is born and raised in the world under that believe wake up and realized that everything he knows and believe was all a lie? How does he over come the obstacles and then later apologize to SPL about everything he done in the past and now trying to make up for his mistakes. after finishing the book I got to give kudos to all his friends and girlfriend for provide the love and support to make him open his eyes and mind to the real world

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating story reads like a "cant put down" fic

the story is shocking and then hopeful and right now we need hope! I usually don't understand how this political situation could have happened two years later still dumbfounded this book at least helped me to understand a little of the current history. The writing is awesome and just hope the best for the characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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One of the best nonfiction books of the year

Important, well-told story. Narrator was excellent as well. My only complaint is that the book wasn't longer.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Challenging and engaging

Really, really good. So much food for thought: Was it the radical hospitality that Derek Black received from fellow college students that transformed him from a white nationalist, or was it his own willingness to question received "truth"? The answer is obviously both, but it feels necessary to hammer out more of an answer than that; I struggle mightily with whether the response to hatred should be engagement or outspoken rejection, and the case of Derek Black gets at the heart of that struggle. As Trevor Noah noted in his interview with Black and Saslow, Black's own journey toward anti-racism doesn't seem scalable, so then what is one to do?

4.5 stars; the loss of .5 is that I wanted some more transparency from Saslow about what I presume are his interviews with Don Black and Richard Spencer.

The audiobook had excellent narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Must-Read

The first time I heard of Derek Black was on an episode of the podcast The Daily. I found his story fascinating even then, and when I had a chance to read this book, I was excited to learn more. Rising Out of Hatred tells Derek's story, but also that of his family and though I will never truly understand let alone condone the "movement" of white supremacy, I found it disturbingly intriguing to see their reasoning for such hateful ideology. It's incredible that Derek - through his experiences and influences in college - was able to understand that this was wrong and that he had to change his thinking and his actions. The fact that he did and that he is willing to be open about his experience gives me hope that people can change. I don't want to talk specifics about current politics in the US, but we all know how divisive the environment has become. We need to keep the hope alive that we can recover from this time of so much outward hatred and partisan division, and be open and willing to learn about the experiences and thoughts of others in the way Derek Black did. It's important to be willing not to dismiss those who think differently from us as ignorant idiots, but to try to understand why they think the way they do and how to approach that. I am not saying I am the paragon of this behavior by any means. I am angry, too, and disappointed with the mood of the time, but I want to be better than that, and I want us all to be better than that. I feel I am veering away from the book now, and maybe that's fine, because it provoked thoughts in me that go well beyond Derek's story and wrap around the problems of the world and society of today and of the past.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Evil and the Damage Done

A nearly perfect must-read, this book is both thought-provoking and enlightening on the racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, homophobic, backwards ideas of white supremacy and its propaganda in the U.S.A., its preachers and flock--these perpetrators of hate, perpetuators of evil--as well as on how some of these elemental myths and bullshit were appropriated and continue to be used by a U.S. president as a means of fueling hatred among his base and playing on the many whites' fears of those who aren't like them (in their skin color, nationality, religion, sexuality).

Much more importantly though, this outstanding book reminded me of the benefits and blessing of a higher education that includes the liberal arts. Further, it stands as a tribute to those college classmates of a young white nationalist leader, who are Jewish, gay, or of another race, courageous, kind and selfless enough to befriend this enemy and help to slowly and eventually transform his mind, via friendship and the art of gentle, subtle and patient persuasion.

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worth a listen.

I enjoyed the book, having followed the story on and off for a few years. I have been aware of Stormfront since my early internet years, somewhere in the mid 90s, and I am so so so very happy that Derrick got away.