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Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story as Told to Jody M. Roy, Ph.D. Paperback – March 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Hawthorne Books (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097901882X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979018824
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this profound memoir, reformed skinhead Meeink, with assistance from academic and activist Roy (Love to Hate: America's Obsession with Hatred and Violence), recounts his former life as a Neo-Nazi. Told with passion and clarity, Meeink's story begins with neglectful parents and an abusive, junkie stepfather, who sowed the anger and hatred that would make him a prime candidate for the Neo-Nazi movement that exploded in Philadelphia through the late 1980s and '90s. Before long, Meeink's mutual embrace with the National Alliance led him to his own gang of recruits and a (largely random) "holy war" that would end up haunting him: "How many of my victims had wished for death while I brutalized them?" In federal prison at age 17, surrounded by cons of all races and creeds, Meeink first began to question what he'd been taught about the "elite" Aryan race; the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing would complete his transformation, leading him to seek out the feds for confession. A brutal tour of modern American racism at its worst, a case study of traumatized youth and drug addiction, and a stark reminder of the human capacity for redemption, Meeink and Roy's account is a shocking but ultimately reaffirming read.

From Booklist

Here’s a memoir guaranteed to generate a high amount of interest (and probably controversy). Before he was out of his teens, Meeink, a member of a group of white supremacists, was behind prison bars. But by the time he was released on parole, he was a changed man, having cast off his hatred; he became a public speaker, sharing his experiences, helping others to understand the nature of hatred and to find ways to combat it. Stories of personal redemption don’t get much more interesting than this one, and the gritty first-person narrative (in the episodic format associated with “as told to” autobiographies) draws the reader into Meeink’s story, giving it an immediacy and a visceral intensity that makes us feel as though we’ve lived a bit of his life. Readers should be warned that the book is unflinchingly straightforward: some of the language is quite raw, and some of the imagery quite graphic. But there’s absolutely no point in telling this story if you’re going to whitewash it first. --David Pitt

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Customer Reviews

And I'm absolutely a better person because of his journey.
L. Rostig
Hate is something that, sadly, will always be here, but, there are people like Frank who make it a life's work to fight it at every turn.
Andrew A. Brockelman III
I recommend this read to anyone who has a heart or anyone who is looking to have a heart.
Samantha Steveline

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By L. Rostig on March 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book changed me. I have always wondered, "How can people be so hateful?" Nobody is born a racist. Frank spells it out in absolute honesty how to build an army of haters. Page 151 reads, "I didn't need to bother recruiting racists. All I did was befriend kids who were pissed off about being picked on day in and day out. I trusted them to pay me back with loyalty. I trusted that I could turn their humiliation into hate. All I had to do was redirect their rage until it came thundering back as racism." If you get nothing else out of this book, it is the need to be compassionate. Kids aren't the only ones picked on day in and day out. I am grateful to this author for being so brutally honest about his past and present. Frank Meeinks doesn't wrap this book up with a nice bow at the end...he is still working towards making his life better...one day at a time. And I'm absolutely a better person because of his journey.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By 11 to 7 Insurance on March 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I got home late to find that it had finally arrived! My wife pre-ordered it from Amazon back in December for my birthday, so I had a long wait. I thought, "I'll just read a chapter or two before going to bed". Although I twice closed it and turned the light off knowing that I needed to get up to work early the next morning, I turned the light back on, opened it back up, and continued reading until I finished it at about 4 a.m. The lost sleep was definitely worth it.

My first thought was, "Wow. I've led a pretty sheltered life." I've never thought that before. I've had a much more diverse life than the vast majority of people I know, but it's no comparison to what I read about Frank's life.

I especially recommend this to anyone who works with youth at risk. When I worked as a counselor and teacher I talked to hundreds of kids who had been through similar things and read every article and book I could find to give me insight to their world. Before reading this, the best picture I had came from reading "Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member", by Sanyika Shakur. But it merely scratches the surface when compared to the depth of "Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead". The strength of this book is that he accomplishes what I always implored my students to do: Frank "shows", instead of "tells". He doesn't have to say, "I became a skinhead because..." or "I drank because...". He paints such a vivid picture of his life that you don't have to ask why, you know why.

Do be aware that it is very vivid. I definitely would not recommend this to someone who doesn't have the maturity to handle the truth of violence and addiction. Frank doesn't candy coat anything.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kerryann Kenney VINE VOICE on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you ever wondered why people hate this is the book for you. Do you want to understand how the seeds of violence are planted? Why we have metal detectors in our schools? Frank's book lays out the struggle of addiction and tells how it happens through the prism of a brilliant communicator. Frank Meeink has a lot of humility and does an amazing job distilling the truths of tolerance, recovery and the value of the humanity we each carry inside of us. This is the best 15 bucks I spent on a book this year. I think every young person should hear Frankie's message. As a note, this is not a preachy book. This is a graphic book. Lots of a adult language and content. The title is self-explanatory.

This is the best memoir I've read in a long time. Highly recommend. I expect this book is going to do really well. I'm proud to be the first reviewer.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Don Garvey on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead is a very strong read - while the subject matter is often very grim and upsetting, the writing style and pacing is spot on. This book isn't a bite sized blurb on a talk show that focuses on grisly voyeuristic details, this is a story about a complete person. Frank never seeks sympathy for what he became or what he did yet the reader is given the opportunity to see the human behind the hate and not the one-dimensional caricatures we so often see in expose's. The portrait of young, frightened, and angry kids (often fatherless) looking for belonging, protection, and lets face it - girls and booze, being brought together by the insidious vehicle of racism is profound. The white supremacy movement provides that supposed brotherhood, and so much more in the way of "cluing in" young people to "the truth", supposedly educating them in the real world, and ultimately turning them into unbridled violent monsters. If you are a parent and your child is exhibiting any of the inclinations you read about in Frank's book or starts hanging around with any people that fit the profiles described within, step in and step in fast.

This is not a book about blame or excuses. Frank's difficult early life is described in detail, but like any great memoir, we are never asked to excuse anything because of it. I am absolutely in awe of Frank and what he's become despite where he's been. This book should become standard curriculum for any course studying gangs or hate groups.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Steveline on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was exposed to Frank's story at an early age. Having grown up in South West Philly, I thought I knew all there was to know. That is, until I read his story for myself. Frank's story showed me how even the most hateful person can turn their life around and make it for the better. His story is truly inspiring and definitely taught me a lesson in love and diversity. I recommend this read to anyone who has a heart or anyone who is looking to have a heart.
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