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BOOK REVIEW: Breaking Hate by Christian Picciolini

Book Review

Breaking Hate  by Christian Picciolini

 

After reading Breaking Hate (220 pages) in one day (it was that compelling), I found a far wider understanding of this white supremacy movement going on in America. I really didn’t fully see that the MAGA (Make America Great Again) campaign was, at its core, an effort to make American white again, essentially to make America hate again. Picciolini says that “America was primed for the fires of violent extremism to ignite—and Donald Trump’s incendiary “America First” platform lit the fuse.” It’s easy now to see how true this is. “Trump’s polemics against undocumented immigrants and minority groups fanned the flames of racist vitriol.”

Picciolini points out that extremists “feast on frenzy and polarization,” with fear acting as the primary sustenance. Extremists use deceptive online marketing tactics, fake crime data, false news/information, and conspiracy theories to lure fresh recruits into their ideology. Hyperbole, paranoia, fear, personal wounds, and the need to fulfill an Identity, belong to a Community, and dedicate to a great Purpose (ICP) all play a role in persuading people to join their cause of racial prejudice. That cause being the protection of the white race as supreme by stopping diversity, mixed-race families, high nonwhite birthrates, and mass migration. “White-genocide” was a new term for me (a wild and false notion that the white race will die because of multiculturalism).

I held my breath a lot during the reading of these real-life events. Picciolini writes with skill and a deep sense of honesty. Kassandra’s story made me cry. Koval’s story made me shudder. The eye-opening information here is shocking as it is heart-wrenching, and more timely today, post-election, than when the book was published in Feb. 2020. By the end, Picciolini shows us that there is hope. His own personal experience and his first-hand experiences with other now ex-extremists (he’s helped over 100 people leave extremists groups) proves that hate can be “unlearned.” Picciolini has a hefty toolbox containing empathy, compassion, self-reflection, and love. But there is one more remarkable instrument that brings these extremists out of their darkness and into the light. It has the initials STC, NTM, but for the full explanation, I encourage you to read this astonishing book.

If you really want insights into the current dangers that threaten humanity, our moral values, our world communities, and America—especially after the January 6 attack on our Capitol—this is the book to read for 2021. A must-read for every American and every parent.

 

On Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Hate-Confronting-Culture-Extremism/dp/0316522937

On Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43209293-breaking-hate

On Barnes & Noble  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-hate-christian-picciolini/1129965185

 

Read more about Christian Picciolini here at AUTHOR OF THE WEEK,  Jan. 25, 2021.

 

 

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Author of the Week, Christian Picciolini, Jan. 25

 

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    January 25, 2021

 

Christian Picciolini

 

 

 

“I am a former violent extremist, who as a young man spent almost a decade during the 1980s and ‘90s as a leader in the American white-supremacist movement. Since denouncing racism, I have dedicated my life to ensuring others don’t tread the same dark path I once held.”

 

“It was those people who chose to treat me with compassion, when I least deserved it, that had the most powerful transformative effect on me. Meeting on a fundamental human level is still the most powerful thing that I’ve seen break hate.”

 

Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, a public speaker, author, peace advocate, and a former violent extremist. After leaving the hate movement he helped create during his youth in the 1980s and ’90s, he began the painstaking process of making amends and rebuilding his life. Christian went on to earn a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a counter-extremism consulting and digital media firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for producing an anti-hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from extremism. Christian’s life since leaving the white-power movement over two decades ago has been dedicated to helping others overcome their own hate. He now leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention and disengagement network.  Hachette Books.

 

Ted Talk

 

Read the interview at The Atlantic 2019  “A Reformed White Nationalist Says the Worst Is Yet to Come.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/08/conversation-christian-picciolini/595543/

 

NPR’s interview with Picciolini “Reformed Neo-Nazi Discusses President Trump’s Controversial Shared Retweet.”

“I think what President Trump is, is a megaphone,” Picciolini said. “It’s as if Trump kicked over a bucket of gasoline on all of those small fires that have existed for 400 years and created one large forest fire.”

https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-protests-for-racial-justice/2020/07/02/886487184/reformed-nazi-discusses-president-trumps-controversial-shared-tweet 

 

Book Review from James Clapper, former US Director of National Intelligence, of Breaking Hate: “This riveting narrative portrays on an intensely personal level the impacts of extremism. Encouragingly, it also identifies a method for recovery. Picciolini’s experience and practice reinforce the truism that hate is a learned behavior, and it can be unlearned. Breaking Hate should be required reading for all citizens who care about dangerous behavior, want to understand it, and are committed to reducing it.”

 

NOTE: After reading Breaking Hate  (220 pages) in one day (it was that compelling), I found a far wider understanding of this white supremacy movement going on in America. I really didn’t fully see that the MAGA (Make America Great Again) campaign was, at the core, an effort to make America white again, essentially make America hate again. Picciolini says that “America was primed for the fires of violent extremism to ignite—and Donald Trump’s incendiary “American First” platform lit the fuse.”  There is a lot in this book to absorb and a lot to learn about WHY and HOW this is happening and what can be done to stop it. I am posting a full book review on Amazon, Goodreads, and separately here on this blog. If you really want  insights into the current racist dangers that threaten America, humanity, our democratic and moral values—especially after the January 6 attack on our Capitol—this is the book to read for 2021. A must-read for every American and every parent.

 

 

 

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