Saturday, September 1, 2018

Review: BlackkKlansman by Ron Stallworth

Title: BlackkKlansman
Author: Ron Stallworth
Year Published: 2014


Genre: Adult non-fiction (memoir)
Pages: 205
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)USA (CO)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): When Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper recruiting for the Ku Klux Klan, he responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. That decision launches what is surely one of the most audacious and incredible undercover investigations in history. Detective Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremicists in the military, and even fools David Duke himself. Black Klansman is an amazing real-life account that reads like a crime thriller--one that offers a searing portrait of a divided America, and the heroic citizens who dared to fight back.

Review: I was flying home from NY and had finished my book so, of course, needed to purchase another one at the airport for the long flight home. Since the movie "BlackkKlansman" is out now in theaters, I thought it would be a good one to read.

The first half of the book covers how Stallworth found the classified ad, how he made contact with the KKK, the other detectives he recruited into his operation, and how they began to infiltrate the Klan. Obviously, a black man cannot show up to a Klan meeting; Stallworth needed white officers to do the in-person work while he did the organizing and phone conversations. I'm sure it helped that it was 1978, a time before cell phones and internet.

In the second half of the memoir, the reader learns of all the groups who worked with Stallworth--the FBI, the ADL, and legislative aides--to gather information on past and current Klan activities and personnel. One of the things I found most intriguing was the way Stallworth made friends, via phone, with David Duke, the Grand Wizard. They talked two times a week! Talk about a way to get intel on Klan plans! Amazing how far flattery will get you.

This memoir is a short, quick, and interesting read. I wonder how the white Klansmen who are named in this book feel now that their activities are public? I think the movie is probably better than the book, but I am now not sure if I will go to the movie.

Challenges for which this counts: 


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