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A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America Hardcover – September 2, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
The event that launches Langer's problematic narrative is brutal and shocking: In November 1988, an Ethiopian immigrant was beaten and bludgeoned to death by three skinheads in Portland, Ore. Langer offers a riveting story of the murder and events leading up to it, including a surprisingly moving account of the troubled life of Ken Mieske, who wielded the fatal baseball bat, and an important short history of the skinhead movement in this country. But the dramatic climax, the murder, comes in the first part of the book. In moving on to recount the resulting (and admittedly strange) civil lawsuit brought by Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center against Tom Metzger, founder of White Aryan Resistance, the narrative loses momentum as Langer backtracks to relate the not entirely relevant life histories of Dees and Metzger. More substantively, Langer fails in her attempt to impeach both the police and the justice system for constructing false versions of events. First, as Langer acknowledges, there was conflicting testimony about the events of that November night, and the police's belief that it was a racially motivated murder remains as plausible as Langer's that it was just a street brawl that got out of control. Nor does her critique of Dees's wily lawyering indict the entire legal system (she tries to show that Dees's deft maneuverings through the ins and outs of othe legal system were unfair), though it does argue for the need to appoint lawyers for defendants in civil cases who cannot otherwise find legal representation; Metzger clearly could not defend himself against the SPLC's skilled attorneys. And Langer, biographer of Josephine Herbst and a Nation contributor, seems oddly willing to give brownie points to Metzger, who advocates violent race war, for being a good husband and father.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This book focuses on the 1988 murder of an Ethiopian man, Mulugeta Seraw, by three skinheads in Portland, Oregon. Langer, author of Josephine Herbst (1983), is herself a native of Portland, and she recounts the case from interviews with the killers, all of whom pled guilty and avoided trial. (The book's title is taken from a program, begun by a white supremacist in California, to recruit young people into the cause of racial hate.) The author elevates the story from merely the recounting of a crime by offering portraits of the victim and the skinheads and their friends and imparting details of the skinhead movement in Portland. Although the killers avoided trial, California hate-monger Tom Metzger and his son, John, did stand trial in Portland for conspiracy, charged with inciting the murder through propaganda and an agent (whom Langer also profiles). The reader will better understand the disaffection that leads to such one-sided thinking and the gap between truth and justice in the American legal system. Frank Caso
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The work illumintates some of the weaknesses of the civil courts system. Exposed is the problem of the expensiveness of affording counsel, and how it can ruin a person in a litigious society. Also the old legal concepts of "champertry" and "barratry" are two words that I did not see in the work, but, they came to mind as I read it.
The book is an easy read and refreshing for its investigative depth and precision, as well as the stylistic moderation, which lacks that obnoxious contemporary style which so often demonizes the players in a narrative in an overwrought attempt to create tension and sales.
Buy this book and mark it well.
Langer begins with the murder and then traces the roots of the movement in Portland that gave rise to the neo-Nazi skinhead movement in her state. She also looks at the poverty, submerged anger, drug use and philosphy that feeds the anger that leads to events like this. In many respects, Langer's book (which began as a series of ongoing articles about the case) provides a glimpse into America's darker side. We discover how the movement began, how it spreads and how it takes root in communities outside her own as well.
While it isn't necessarily the easiest book to read, it's compelling and thoughtful. It's not lite reading for the beach but it's the type of book for those interested in how society makes a wrong turn as it grows and matures. Her coverage of the trial, the evidence and the feelings of those involved gives a borad perspective into what fans the flames of monsterous acts in our world. A Hundred Little Hitlers frightens me worse than any Stephen King novel or the latest "Resident Evil" movie could because it's about the world around us.
Many misconceptions still float around about Lockjaw. If the person who wrote this article or book would like an interview with actual members so some clarification can be made I would be glad to oblige. This is just hearsay accounts and this person obviously has a biased opinion. True there was violence at some of our shows but far more violence when bands like Black Flag or Suicidal Tendencies came to town. Get your facts straight before you print such inflammatory remarks please .
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I think the most disturbing aspect of the book is Ms.Read more