White American Youth
A stunning look inside the world of violent hate groups by a onetime white supremacist leader who, shaken by a personal tragedy, realized the error of his ways and abandoned his destructive life to become an anti-hate activist. As he stumbled through high school, struggling to find a community among other fans of punk rock music, Christian Picciolini was recruited by a now 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 arrested and sentenced to eleven years in 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. Raw, inspiring, and heartbreakingly candid, White American Youth tells the fascinating story of how 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.

White American Youth Details

TitleWhite American Youth
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 26th, 2017
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780316522908
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Social Movements, Social Justice, Race

White American Youth Review

  • Leo Robertson
    January 1, 1970
    Timely and highly compelling piece of narrative non-fiction. I just stayed up way too late to finish it!What struck me most was the visceral nature of the prose. The author's life is portrayed so vividly, from the loneliness, confusion and disaffection of youth to the joy of acceptance by someone at least. Later, we feel the excitement of violence, the thrill of being something bigger than yourself, of playing in a band and having a room full of folk dressed like you go absolutely nuts. It's eas Timely and highly compelling piece of narrative non-fiction. I just stayed up way too late to finish it!What struck me most was the visceral nature of the prose. The author's life is portrayed so vividly, from the loneliness, confusion and disaffection of youth to the joy of acceptance by someone at least. Later, we feel the excitement of violence, the thrill of being something bigger than yourself, of playing in a band and having a room full of folk dressed like you go absolutely nuts. It's easy to see, reading this book, why white power movements are so seductive.People get lost at the wayside, attacked. Become the victims of misdirected anger. Being possessed by an evil ideology comes at several immense costs—personal, familial, social... what with the reach of white power music, global, even. Those costs may remain hidden for years and years, festering until their final too-late revelation.More wholesome joys permeate the narrative: finding love, having children, forming unlikely friendships... Jesus, how will all that pan out?Check out this Atlantic piece on the guy behind The Daily Stormer. Picciolini's story is woefully archetypal. That makes it gripping, terrifying and essential reading.
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  • Paul Fike
    January 1, 1970
    White American Youth is a frank exploration of the life of Christian Piccioloni. The book I s an enlightening exploration into the underbelly of the white nationalist skinhead movement in America. As an insecure son of immigrant parents Picciolini discovered acceptance and purpose in a Chicago skinhead group. After his mentor was imprisoned, Picciolini rose through the ranks quickly to become a national leader of this movement, as well as, the front man for a white supremacist band. Through viol White American Youth is a frank exploration of the life of Christian Piccioloni. The book I s an enlightening exploration into the underbelly of the white nationalist skinhead movement in America. As an insecure son of immigrant parents Picciolini discovered acceptance and purpose in a Chicago skinhead group. After his mentor was imprisoned, Picciolini rose through the ranks quickly to become a national leader of this movement, as well as, the front man for a white supremacist band. Through violence and intimidation he led this movement. Hatred seethed through his pores. Through a failed marriage he became more and more aware of the corruption of this movement and the philosophy behind it. In time his eyes were opened to the truth of his insecurity, self-loathing, and need for genuine love. These deep needs could never be met in racial hatred and the people who promoted this insidious ideology.What I found most disturbing is how the radical philosophy behind this violent movement has moved from the periphery, to the mainstream. White nationalism has always existed in America, but only recently has it resurfaced on the national political scene. An excellent read for anyone interested in exploring this insidious movement or those who believe in the possibility of redemption.
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  • Rachel Wall
    January 1, 1970
    Listened to this on audio read by the author. Highly recommend.
  • Mike Davis
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to find a copy of Christian's book at a recent conference, and I was already familiar with him through stories from other people. For that reason I was more than prepared to be a fan of this book. It was not a pleasant read, that is, a good portion of this book is spent watching someone go deeper and deeper into an abyss. It seemed inevitable at the start of things. He was young and impressionable, and someone made an impression. What would otherwise be leadership and ingenuit I was lucky enough to find a copy of Christian's book at a recent conference, and I was already familiar with him through stories from other people. For that reason I was more than prepared to be a fan of this book. It was not a pleasant read, that is, a good portion of this book is spent watching someone go deeper and deeper into an abyss. It seemed inevitable at the start of things. He was young and impressionable, and someone made an impression. What would otherwise be leadership and ingenuity in any other use, was twisted into something darker and more sinister. There were parts in here where the fear he is facing is easy to feel. Being asked to point a gun and fire it in the direction of an innocent person while a gun was to his own head must have been terrifying. This example is extreme, but I think there was something common in it. Many of us have been in a position where our actions simply must line up with our posturing. Christian's was much more high stakes, and each time it was easier for him to rise to the challenge than walk away.Music played a large role in this, and I looked up some of the band names on Spotify. While Skrewdriver isn't a band, there is a playlist with more than 3000 followers. This outlet is there for a lot of people. It seemed to me that the lifestyle was a lot of work, but for disaffected youth with excess time, it might be attractive.Looking back on my life, I can see that the maintenance of enemies was very intensive work. I wonder why I would ever do that. I am glad that Christian made (and continues to make) the amends he could make. More importantly, I am grateful that he represents a way out for anyone in the lifestyle that shouldn't be. I hope more people give this a read.
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  • Danm
    January 1, 1970
    A very different type of reading experience for two reasons. One, I couldn't figure out how much of it was embellished for entertainment purposes (after reading the entire book I'm guessing not as much as I had anticipated). Two, I had to put the book face-down wherever I went because I feared others might get the wrong idea. As far as the writing goes, he's a good storyteller and obviously intelligent. He also keeps his readers in suspense with specific scenes and final conclusion (not final so A very different type of reading experience for two reasons. One, I couldn't figure out how much of it was embellished for entertainment purposes (after reading the entire book I'm guessing not as much as I had anticipated). Two, I had to put the book face-down wherever I went because I feared others might get the wrong idea. As far as the writing goes, he's a good storyteller and obviously intelligent. He also keeps his readers in suspense with specific scenes and final conclusion (not final solution). During the ride, it's evident that Christian is a good person filled with hate. I won't reveal how it ends. Not going in my Favorites, but still a rare 5 for me. Recommended.
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  • Sarah Deyoung
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book in two days. I think that anyone who cares about social justice needs to read this to understand how easily someone can get swept up and involved in extremist groups. The writing is great and Christian's voice is compelling. This is the best non-fiction I've read in years.
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  • ems
    January 1, 1970
    a great memoir -- the author has a compelling story (his time as a leader in the white power movement/his eventual disillusionment with it) & writes it well.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars The ending seemed a little rushed but I seriously couldn't put this book down.
  • Christian Picciolini
    January 1, 1970
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