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.
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