Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Book Review: Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime by Ron Stallworth (audio)

I'm not always a fan of audiobooks read by the narrator, when the narrator isn't a professional (actor, comedian, etc.) but this one was perfect. Mr. Stallworth is a little older and at times he reads bits a little slowly, but I think it was the perfect choice. Right off the bat, especially if you've seen the movie, you're analyzing his voice and if it would have raised any flags with David Duke and the other white supremacists he had multiple conversations with. The recalling of the conversation in which Duke is telling Stallworth how he can tell a black person on the phone is especially funny coming from Stallworth himself. Also at times his frustration and his bafflement at the idiocy really came through in his tone, which added an element to the story.

If you came to this book from the movie, you'll be surprised to learn that the romantic story was completely added--he doesn't mention any home life at all. And the blow-up ending was also a big exaggeration for effect. But otherwise, it's very accurate. Luckily, when Mr. Stallworth's boss asked him to destroy the files, he instead took them home (oops) so he had all the source material to write this.

It is truly a fascinating story and an interesting peek into what for most of us is a bizarre undercurrent of society. The white supremacists have reared their ugly head yet again, and hopefully it's just a dying gasp, but we need more Ron Stallworths out there to combat it. This was an enjoyable listen.

I listened to this book on Libby/Overdrive via my local library, but it's published by Macmillan, my employer.

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