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

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

by Christian Picciolini

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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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316522915
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 10/24/2017
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 182,894
File size: 29 MB
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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 earned a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a digital media and counter-extremism consulting firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for directing and producing an anti-hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from violence-based extremist groups. Christian's life since leaving the white-supremacist movement over two decades ago has been dedicated to helping others overcome hate through such organizations as Life After Hate and ExitUSA. He now leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention and disengagement platform, helping people exit hate movements and other violent ideologies. He has spoken all over the world, including on the TED stage, sharing his unique and extensive knowledge, teaching all who are willing to learn about building greater peace through empathy and compassion.

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White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement--and How I Got Out 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 30 days ago
As an African -American male, the insights gained from reading this book give me hope during this most disturbing time in the history of our country.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead by Christian Picciolini chronicles the author’s experiences growing up in Blue Island, a working class neighborhood in Chicago during the 1980s-1990s. Christian’s life as the son of first generation Italian immigrants is difficult, and he often finds himself left to the care of his grandparents. Not really fitting in anywhere, Christian discovers the world of neo-Nazism through a man named Clark Martell. He swiftly rises through the ranks, displacing the anger and hurt he felt through his absent parents onto the so-called “inferior” races of his blue collar neighborhood. A musician, leader, and criminal, Picciolini finds himself questioning his beliefs after the birth of his sons and the breakdown of his first marriage, and wonders if his convictions are worth the cost of losing his family. I will admit, I had my reservations going into reading this memoir, yet curiosity got the better of me. I simply could not put this book down. I sat and read from start to finish, captivated by the engaging writing style and candid confessions of Mr. Picciolini. It certainly could not have been easy to bare his soul in such a way, knowing he may face repercussions from the community in which he had once been so engrained. In truth, I admire him greatly, not only for recognizing that he had been misled, but understanding the cause for his displaced hatred. Although the earlier chapters of the book jump around a bit, the narrative was easy to follow, candid and compelling. Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead by Christian Picciolini truly opened my eyes to how some racially violent organizations prey on the vulnerabilities of youth in order to sway them from more ethical and moral paths. I only wish I had the ability to rank this higher than five stars. It certainly isn’t a read for everyone, but to those that do take the opportunity, they will not be disappointed.