Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist

Eli Saslow is an author and a staff writer for The Washington Post, where he travels the country to write in-depth stories about the impact of major national issues on individual lives. He won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a series of stories about the rise of food stamps and hunger in the United States. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing in 2013, 2016 and 2017. 

I had read some of Saslow’s interviews on this before. This is more in-depth and while it made me uncomfortable I was curious.

How does the heir apparent to the KKK, Derek Black, godson of David Duke and son of Don Black, suddenly change his name and his back on the entire organization?

Well, it didn’t happen overnight. Derek is an intelligent man. Yes, he started a web page for White Children when he was a child, he was indoctrinated into this belief system by his father and his godfather. However he didn’t just take their word on white supremacy, he traveled, he studied and he knew more about history than most history majors.

So when he made the choice to attend a liberal arts college in Florida he tried to stay under the radar. And that worked for a time. It was there that he became friends with immigrants, Jews and started questioning what he had been taught.

The college could have ostracized him, kicked him out, made him quit. But the students didn’t do that. They invited him to Shabbat. They entered into a discourse that would eventually lead to Black taking back everything he had preached and going off grid.

The White Nationalists were given a prize with Trump. They saw someone who said things they wanted to hear. The only thing they clashed on was Israel. Trump himself is a rabble-rouser and these guys took that as a sign to be more and more violent and confrontational.

As uncomfortable as most of the book made me, I am better for having read it.

Netgalley/Doubleday September 18, 2018



Set in modern-day Oxford, Mississippi, on the Ole Miss campus, bestselling author Lisa Patton’s RUSH is a story about women—from both ends of the social ladder—discovering their voices, courage and empowerment. 

When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid—no matter what.

Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.

For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl—as her “babies” like to call her—has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta—and maybe the entire Greek system—forever.

Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all.

The above is the entire blurb. I did not have one laugh out loud moment, but I did have a lot of uncomfortable ones. I noticed that the author herself is a Alabama graduate but set the story in Ole Miss because everyone loves them. Really? As someone who lived in Mississippi and taught in Mississippi, I sent my children out-of-state for college.

The characters were very superficial and the only one I cared for was Wilda’s husband.

I’m not sure if this was supposed to be funny but it came off as shallow and insensitive. The Greek system is full of racism, elitism and needs to be done away with. You are in college to learn, and the only way to do that is by interacting with people different from you. Generational Racism is alive and well on the majority of campuses. And to say there has never been a black house mother in the SEC is shameful.

I would not recommend this book.

Netgalley/ St.Martin’s Press  August 21, 2018

The Deepest Grave by Jeri Westerson

The Deepest Grave (Crispin Guest Medieval Noir #11)

A Crispin Guest Medieval Noir Number 11

Crispin is back with his trusty apprentice Jack. After a distraught priest asks him to look into why the dead won’t stay put in their graves, and before he can even do much sleuthing, he receives a message from an old friend that her son is being accused of murder. At the tender age of 7.

And as the old friend is Phillipa, who knows what could be afoot?!

Between the strange goings on at the church yard and the strange behavior of the murdered mans family, this will be an interesting one for Crispin.

Crispin has really come into his own in this one. He is a much calmer and thoughtful man. He has seemingly banished his own demons and is coming to terms with his life as it is. But will this be the thing that could undo all his hard work?

I really enjoy this type of Noir. Crispin is an interesting fellow with just the right mix of snark and manners.

IF you haven’t picked up one of his tales, you should!

Netgalley/ Severn House August 01, 2018