A stunning exploration of how to heal a nation reeling from extremist violence from a viral TED speaker and onetime white-supremacist leader who now work as a peace activist disengaging hateful radicals.
At fourteen, Christian Picciolini was recruited by a now notorious skinhead leader and encouraged to fight with the movement to "protect the white race from extinction." Soon, he had become an expert in racist ideology, a neo-Nazi terror who roamed the neighborhood, quick to throw fists. By the time he left the movement years later and was able to see clearly for the first time, Picciolini found that his life was in shambles and the nation around him was coming apart.

Told with startling intimacy and compassion, BREAKING HATE is the inside story of how extremists have taken the reins of our political discourse and a guide to how everyday Americans can win it back. The forces pushing to polarize and radicalize us are many--from fake news to coded language to Russian trolls to a White House that often aims to inflame rather than to heal. Increasingly, the information with which we construct our world views is segregated by social media stars and advertisers with murky motives to validate our worst impulses. As Picciolini demonstrates, our modern world systematically normalizes extremism in such a way that we grow blind to it, only recognizing it in the wake of tragedy.

Drawing on profiles of extremists that he works to free from violent ideology and on his own painful history leading and then escaping from an infamous neo-Nazi group, BREAKING HATE explains why terrorism and violence have come to characterize our daily lives and why that doesn't need to be the case.
As featured on Fresh Air and the TED stage, a stunning look inside the world of violent hate groups by a onetime white supremacist leader who, shaken by a personal tragedy, abandoned his destructive life to become an anti-hate activist.

Raw, inspiring, and heartbreakingly candid, White American Youth explores why so many young people lose themselves in a culture of hatred and violence and how the criminal networks they forge terrorize and divide our nation. The story begins when Picciolini found himself stumbling through high school, struggling to find a community among other fans of punk rock music. There, he was recruited by a notorious white power skinhead leader and encouraged to fight with the movement to "protect the white race from extinction." Soon, he had become an expert in racist philosophies, a terror who roamed the neighborhood, quick to throw fists. When his mentor was sent to prison, sixteen-year-old Picciolini took over the man's role as the leader of an infamous neo-Nazi skinhead group.

Seduced by the power he accrued through intimidation, and swept up in the rhetoric he had adopted, Picciolini worked to grow an army of extremists. He used music as a recruitment tool, launching his own propaganda band that performed at white power rallies around the world. But slowly, as he started a family of his own and a job that for the first time brought him face to face with people from all walks of life, he began to recognize the cracks in his hateful ideology. Then a shocking loss at the hands of racial violence changed his life forever, and Picciolini realized too late the full extent of the harm he'd caused.

"Simultaneously horrifying and redemptive" (AlterNet), White American Youth examines how radicalism and racism can conquer a person's way of life and how we can work together to stop those ideologies from tearing our world apart.

*An earlier edition of this book was published as Romantic Violence
As featured on Fresh Air and the TED stage, a stunning look inside the world of violent hate groups by a onetime white supremacist leader who, shaken by a personal tragedy, abandoned his destructive life to become an anti-hate activist.

Raw, inspiring, and heartbreakingly candid, White American Youth explores why so many young people lose themselves in a culture of hatred and violence and how the criminal networks they forge terrorize and divide our nation. The story begins when Picciolini found himself stumbling through high school, struggling to find a community among other fans of punk rock music. There, he was recruited by a notorious white power skinhead leader and encouraged to fight with the movement to "protect the white race from extinction." Soon, he had become an expert in racist philosophies, a terror who roamed the neighborhood, quick to throw fists. When his mentor was sent to prison, sixteen-year-old Picciolini took over the man's role as the leader of an infamous neo-Nazi skinhead group.

Seduced by the power he accrued through intimidation, and swept up in the rhetoric he had adopted, Picciolini worked to grow an army of extremists. He used music as a recruitment tool, launching his own propaganda band that performed at white power rallies around the world. But slowly, as he started a family of his own and a job that for the first time brought him face to face with people from all walks of life, he began to recognize the cracks in his hateful ideology. Then a shocking loss at the hands of racial violence changed his life forever, and Picciolini realized too late the full extent of the harm he'd caused.

"Simultaneously horrifying and redemptive" (AlterNet), White American Youth examines how radicalism and racism can conquer a person's way of life and how we can work together to stop those ideologies from tearing our world apart.

*An earlier edition of this book was published as Romantic Violence
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