Book Review Club: Black Klansman #review

I’ve done a lot of reading this summer, so had a hard time choosing a book for this month’s edition of Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club. I decided on:

Black Klansman coverBlack Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime
by Ron Stallworth

#1 New York Times Bestseller!

The extraordinary true story and basis for the Academy Award winning film BlacKKKlansman, written and directed by Spike Lee, produced by Jordan Peele, and starring John David Washington and Adam Driver.


My Review:

Ron Stallworth was the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. In 1978, he came across an ad in the local paper recruiting Klan members in the area. Ron wrote a letter expressing interest, but made a rookie mistake and used his own name. (He was expecting to get some general leaflets in the mail.) However, he had the presence of mind to use an undercover address and phone mail. To his surprise, he soon received a call.

When asked “do you want to join?” Ron asked the PD to start an undercover investigation into the Klan. First, they had to find a white undercover cop to play Ron for the in person meetings. They learn that Grand Wizard, David Duke himself, is planning a trip to Colorado Springs. Great story!

Blackk Klansman DVD coverThe story of how these officers infiltrated the Klan is fascinating. I really liked the book, so I went looking for the movie and found it on demand on my TV, thanks to HBO. The script for the film took a lot of liberties with the book to make it more dramatic, but it was good, too. At the end, Spike Lee ties the story to what has been happening recently, Charlottesville and the Black Lives Matter movement.

I think this is an important book, and I’m very glad I read it.

Linda McLaughlin

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4 thoughts on “Book Review Club: Black Klansman #review

  1. As Margy said above…very timely. Love that you read the book and watched the movie. Did you ever watch Donnie Brasco, a movie where Johnny Depp infiltrates the mob? My heart was in my throat, waiting for him to be discovered. Black Klansman, both the book and the movie, could elicit that tense response. Thanks for reviewing!

  2. I had heard the movie was based on a real event but I hadn’t realized it was a memoir first. Did you also see the movie? I’m wondering if I should read the book or watch the movie, maybe both. Sorry to be slow to visit. I’ve been making get out the vote calls for the Maine Democrats. This is a timely book!

    • Sarah, if it’s a choice between book and movie, I recommend the book for the “real” story, without embellishments. If you’re looking for timeliness, then choose the movie.

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