I grew up in a middle class home. My parents are both white. I attended public school and went to a public college. Derek Black was raised in a lower-middle class family, whose parents are devout white nationalists. He was home schooled and was a rising star in the white power movement when he went to New College in Florida. While at school, he was outed as a racist.
Eli Saslow writes Derek’s story from being the heir-apparent of the white nationalist movement to disavowing his racist beliefs and renouncing his former life. Derek renounced his beliefs, not just because he was outed, but because a group of students who had befriended him and slowly and surely got him to see the error of his ways. Most important in this group was his girlfriend, Allison, who challenged his beliefs with facts and studies and educated him that what he had grown up believing and being told was wrong. Derek began to see the harm that his racist beliefs had caused.
I rated this book 5 stars, not because it’s well-written (and it is), but because it has a very important message. The last three chapters of this book are the most important. It explains how Donald Trump won the Presidency by mainstreaming alt-right beliefs and white nationalist language. It explains how frightening and dangerous and frightening those beliefs are. There is discussion about Steve Bannon and Richard Spencer – whose names wouldn’t be known today were it not for Trump. If for no other reason, this book is important to read for that.
I won this book from Goodreads and received no other compensation in exchange for my review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.