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Dark Soul of the South: The Life and Crimes of Racist Killer Joseph Paul Franklin Hardcover – May 1, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this chilling but important book, Mel Ayton examines the case of a man who—despite being a murderer, would-be assassin of public figures, and white supremacist—remains a hero to many Americans, and that’s probably the most shocking fact of all."--Paul Donnelley, author of 501 Most Notorious Crimes and Assassins and Assassinations in World History

"Mel Ayton, who has written extensively on political assassinations in the United States, now has ventured where no other writer has. With his latest book, Dark Soul of the South, he delves into the world of a racial serial killer and attempted assassin of Hustler magazine’s Larry Flynt and civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. While many believe that the ugly precepts of racism expired with the successes of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Ayton’s in-depth study of the activities of those such as Franklin is a reminder that the demise of racism was, and still is, somewhat premature.”--Larry A. Sneed, author of No More Silence: An Oral History of the Assassination of President Kennedy

"With his latest well-written book, about the racist killer John Paul Franklin—along with his other works, particularly his important book about the 1968 murder of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy—Mel Ayton has staked his claim as one of the finest true-crime writers in the business. His portrayal of right-wing fanatic Franklin is both chilling and enlightening, as it chronicles the murderer’s past crimes while seeming to give warning about other individuals, also motivated by their sick views of American politics, who might follow in his wake. Ayton’s disciplined attention to detail in his story is investigative journalism at its very best."--Dan E. Moldea, author of The Hoffa Wars

"Mel Ayton's books on the Kennedy and King assassinations exhibited a great clarity of mind and scrupulous regard for the facts. He now brings these all-too-rare tools to a grim story about the underside of American society."--Max Holland, author of The Kennedy Assassination Tapes

About the Author

Mel Ayton has written numerous books and articles, including A Racial Crime, the story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassin, and The Forgotten Terrorist: Sirhan Sirhan and the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (Potomac Books, 2007). Ayton has appeared in documentaries produced by the National Geographic Channel (CIA Secret Experiments, 2008) and the Discovery Channel (CIA Mind Control, 2006; Conspiracy Test: The Robert Kennedy Assassination, 2008) and has worked as a historical consultant for the BBC. He lives in County Durham, England.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597975435
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597975438
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,616,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always been fascinated by this story and I had the pleasure to correspond with Mr.Franklin for awhile last year. The impression I got was pretty much the same you get from the book, he has no remorse and believes killing blacks was his duty as a white man. He told me: "I didn't enjoy any of the murders, i just figured, it's a nasty job but somebody's gotta do it!". He told me he kind of considered himself a Mafia hitman, just with a different kind of mission. This said, the book is great, I was impressed at how much I learned, the topic of "hate crime" and racial tension in those years is covered extensively, and so is the life of Mr.Franklin. You get to know Joseph as you learn how he grew up, was introduced to the American Nazi Party and adopted its beliefs, and finally ended up on death row. You won't regret buying this book, it's unbiased and tells it as it was. No matter what you think about Mr.Franklin, this book is a honest look at the life of Mr.Franklin and racism in America.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unbelievable that so many innocent bystanders were caught up in this criminal's killing spree! This book is enlightening and shows how prejudice can be and often is so terrible. The killer realizes after he is caught and imprisoned that he could get along with most people. But we know from this book that his racism was caused by his upbringing, and his environment supported his hate. What a sad story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
True-crime books can be literary gems, like "In Cold Blood" and "The Executioner's Song." Or they can be luridly entertaining, like "The Stranger Beside Me" and "Deadly Innocence." Unfortunately, true-crime books can also be plodding and dull, which brings me to "Dark Soul of the South," historian Mel Ayton's bland chronicle of Joseph Paul Franklin, the racist sniper who shot Larry Flynt and Vernon Jordan. Serial-killer biographies like this one are inherently unpleasant; they require a gifted writer to keep the reader absorbed, but Ayton's workmanlike approach is only mildly engaging.

As a side note, do book publishers no longer hire editors and proofreaders? The level of sloppiness in this book is embarrassing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was very well written. The author evoked the sense of time and place brilliantly. I thoroughly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well written book on the ultra-racist, Nazi Party, evangelical Christian, KKK member, sniper & "racial cleansing" serial killer, who attacked & murdered whom he (and his groups) thought were enemies to the Aryan-Christian race, including jews, blacks, interracial couples, precieved "communists" or "un-Christians" & even porno kingpin "Hustler" Larry Flynt, all of whom where targeted by the "killer Klansman", who went on a cross country racial rampage from the 70's to 80's. The writer also gives good insight into other racially motivated attacks in the same period such as the Order's crime spree, the KKK-Nazi shooting of communist marchers in Carolina, and others. 5 STARS. Buy this book, it's for anyone interested in criminology, true crime, serial killers, white supremacists, civil rights or just plain out "human depravity".
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