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Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime Kindle Edition
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I admit that the story itself is not the most exciting in the realm of true crime/cop books, but it is one of the most fun. There is no dramatic arrest or trial, this case was about intelligence gathering and crime prevention, and succeeded beyond expectations. Not to downplay the significant achievements that came from this investigation, but Stallworth also successfully made complete fools of Duke and the Klan, and therein lies the fun. By just doing his job, Stallworth hilariously disproves all their delusions of white superiority. And I'm glad this book and Spike Lee's film will renew and add to the mass laughter directed at the Klowns.
I recall an episode of some cop show where a cop proudly shows off photos he took of famous landmarks and someone points out that they look like crime scene photos. Stallworth's writing reminded me of this scene because he writes like a cop with a "just the facts, ma'am" police report-like tone. His level-headedness and emotional control made him perfect for undercover work but also made me initially not like the writing. I expect more emotion when I read about hate groups but, by the end, I was a fan of Stallworth's tone and got a kick out of his understatements, which may or may not have been written with a hearty helping of dry sarcasm.
One of the most common themes in nonfiction is incompetence, and Black Klansman is no exception. The police certainly make their share of mistakes, including multiple instances of using their own names while undercover, but that did not matter one bit because the Ku Klux Klods were determined to out-idiot everyone. The gang who couldn't think straight, led by Chaotic Evil Grand Elf Paladin Daisy Duke with +5 botox, are actually much dumber than I could have imagined. For a bunch of paranoid bigots, you'd think they'd be more careful about the people who answer their ads and join their "dens" (We're lions! Grrr!), but no, at one point, Duke "inducts" 3 undercover cops into their fold on the same day. They're so desperate to be relevant that they undercut their own efforts, which is so delicious that I made a yummy sound.
I was very comforted to know that these idiots couldn't organize a game of tag much less the second civil war they've keep threatening. I'm surprised they're actually able to get their pretty dresses so sparkling white! They are a testament to the power of delusions of grandeur and how those delusions can actually be passed down through the generations. Their obsession with Birth of a Nation is telling, they worship fiction and fantasy (dragons and wizards) because they can't handle reality.
One final observation: It's very appropriate that the Klan handshake is almost the same as that handshake where you tickle the other person's palm with your finger.
The rule of law is really what contains the alt-right, and I'm wishing for more law enforcement like Mr. Stallworth and less like Joe Arpaio.
The book probably could have used another edit or two. But the writing and story are down to earth and sincere. As a result, the grittiness helps remind the reader that this is a true story first person account from the cop himself and it actually enhances the experience. It comes off as very personal as if you are brought deep into the author's confidence. The book also delves into the career of the officer/detective and gives interesting insights into his “Jackie Robinson” journey. This is a fascinating and earnest account of one of the first black cops who undertakes a pet project – to infiltrate the KKK.
It is a definitely a page turner.
As a police officer's memoir of an undercover operation' it is a decent, somewhat "methodical" account of a unique infiltration of a crime network.
As an insight into the banality of evil, it's quite good. As literature, it's dry. As suspense, well, real life doesn't work like movies and TV.
On a separate note, I do not recommend the new Flatiron Books 2018 edition. It's cut/bound in such a way as to make it quite difficult to read text toward the binding.
about the current activities of local Klan chapters. But, it also informs us about the
evolving back story influencing the media's portrayal of the Klan. The public's
social values have radically changed in the latest decades and, therefore, what the
Klan says it represents has changed. We now have the New Klan (non-violent), not the
Old Klan (lynchings, cross-burnings). The book relates a local chapter's recruiting
efforts: they would bring in David Duke for speeches and sponsor numerous rallys
and four cross-burnings, each including 100 uniformed, hooded local members in neo-nazi
displays. Readers will find some members' thought processes old-fashioned - we would
no longer fear many of their threats. But, we would still see the media stories and
fear the Klan, itself, from the age of two. Should we take them seriously? Yes.
As long as white nationalism lives and the Klan is still an organization, it should
remain a public safety concern, food for law enforcement to chew on.