White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement--and How I Got Out

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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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About the author

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. He has spoken all over the world, including on the TEDx stage, sharing his unique and extensive knowledge, teaching all who are willing to learn about building greater peace through empathy and compassion. Christian's involvement in, and exit from, the early American white-supremacist skinhead movement is chronicled in his memoir White American Youth. His disengagement work is spotlighted in his MSNBC documentary series Breaking Hate. On February 25, 2020, Picciolini will publish his follow-up book, Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Hachette Books
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Published on
Oct 24, 2017
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780316522915
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Criminals & Outlaws
Biography & Autobiography / Political
Biography & Autobiography / Social Activists
True Crime / Organized Crime
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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From a onetime white-supremacist leader now working to disengage people from extremist movements, Breaking Hate is a "riveting" (James Clapper), "groundbreaking" (Malcolm Nance), "horrifying [but] hopeful" (S.E. Cupp) exploration of how to heal a nation reeling from hate and violence.

Today's extremist violence surges into our lives from what seems like every direction -- vehicles hurtling down city sidewalks; cyber-threats levied against political leaders and backed up with violence; automatic weapons unleashed on mall shoppers, students, and the faithful in houses of worship. As varied as the violent acts are the attackers themselves -- neo-Nazis, white nationalists, the alt-right, InCels, and Islamist jihadists, to name just a few. In a world where hate has united communities that traffic in radical doctrines and rationalize their use of violence to rally the disaffected, the fear of losing a loved one to extremism or falling victim to terrorism has become almost universal.

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