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Killing the Messenger: A Story of Radical Faith, Racism's Backlash, and the Assassination of a Journalist

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  30 reviews
When a nineteen-year-old member of a Black Muslim cult assassinated Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey in 2007—the most shocking killing of a journalist in the United States in thirty years—the question was, Why? “I just wanted to be a good soldier, a strong soldier,” the killer told police.   A strong soldier for whom?

Killing the Messenger is a searing work of narra
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Crown (first published January 1st 2012)
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  152 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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David Gross
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
For several months in the mid 2000s, I lived on the same block in North Oakland as the Your Black Muslim Bakery compound.

If I knew then what I know now... damn. What a horrible knot of evil. I was lucky to get out alive, and I just thought I had a room in a shitty house somewhere.

But another thing this book points out is how much the Oakland Police Department is on the one hand thoroughly harmful in their malevolent brutality, and on the other hand completely worthless in their pretensions of fu
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not sure if I know enough about the political nuances here but will say this was very well written and engaging.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it

In the classic vein of nonfiction that seems more over the top than anything a fiction writer could get away with, Thomas Peele presents us the sordid tale of a family dynasty as tyrannical and twisted as history can get, all nestled in the ghetto of Oakland, CA. The Bey dynasty has all the makings of Caligula settling down in Waco, TX. Rape, murder, slavery, and the journalist who tried to expose it only to be murdered in the streets. It's a book that will horrify you that such acts are still
Maya Hollinshead
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
It is unusual to have a true crime book (which I am calling this) with African-American victims and suspects. This is one of the books. Chauncey Bailey was killed by a member of fringe set of Black Muslims in Oakland, CA in 2007. But the book goes deeper than the crime. It follows the history of the Black Muslims in America, how this sect was created by Yusuf Bey and how Bey and his son, Yusuf Bey IV, terrorized the streets of Oakland (and how no one was able to stop them). It took me several we ...more
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I got this free from Read It Forward. This is an amazing story. I can't understand how Yusuf Bey and his sons managed to escape justice as long as they did. This is a very thorough account of the family's crimes and cons. Although it skips around to different time periods and follows different people instrumental in the creation of the Black Muslim sect and the Your Black Muslim Bakery offshoot, it is never hard to follow.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was so well researched, and so well written. I had to keep stopping to tell myself it was non-fiction, his writing is so vivid and well paced it reads like a novel. If you live in the Bay Area it is a must read. One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.
Jess Mowry
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tricknology Comes In All Colors

It’s often said that the devil is in the details. For example, it’s often the small things that become the most important in making a legal case. Most experienced writers would agree that this concept also applies to their profession: the tiniest details can make or break a story. This may tempt authors into emphasizing or embellishing details that seem to reinforce a theme; to present the facts in a way that fits the frame.

One may receive impressions of this in th
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent journalism!
Erich Hayner
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Mr. Poole fabricates details in order to achieve a more readable book.
I have lived under the influence of the Black Muslim Bakery (BMB) for nearly 20 years of my life. I bought their food, talked with ex-members, and watched Bey IV lord around my neighborhood. I even watched old man Bey on his absurd tv show too. I know a lot about the BMB and I can tell you, Mr. Poole has got a lot of this right.
Unfortunately, Poole is an embellisher and an editorializer. This book portrays itself as a purely
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Of the few true crime tales I've read, this is by far the best. It blows Devil in the White City away for sure. Peele definitely writes likes an investigative reporter, even to the point that you can tell that he's smug like many investigative reporters I've met. (I've never read Friday Night Lights because I met Buzz Bissinger in college before I'd heard of the book and, while I thought Bissinger had a way with words from his lecture, I also thought he was so egotistical, I couldn't bring mysel ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it liked it
A disturbing chronicle of violence, corruption, and failure of a government to act in its people's best interests. Thomas Peele's profile of Your Black Muslim Bakery sets a true crime profile against the fascinating history of the Black Muslim movement, the Great Migration from the South and ultimately to Oakland, and Oakland's economic and political traditions. At times, the book seems overdramatic, and it was hard for me as a reader to evaluate the quality of the research or validity of certai ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was really interested to read this book because the Your Black Muslim Bakery violence was so close to home geographically. The author rambles a bit and I found his lack of a timeline meant that I'd forget what was going on. He also seemed to NOT be impartial. Which I got considering he was part of the Chauncey Bailey Project but also not when I expected of a journalist.

and a major guilt b/c I used to stop by the YBMB kiosk at the Oakland airport when I flew between 1999-2002 and grab a sandwic
Jerry Peace
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
A depressing book about a tawdry group of people. As seems to be usual with so many cults, arrogance, murder, rape, humiliation, delusion, hate, fraud, child molestation, manipulation, fear, guns, and religion holler out from every page. Lots of books are like that. But here the difference is that there is no hope, there are no good guys, each page an unrelenting panoply of horror. I recommend this book, but be prepared to not really want to turn the page, to be ecstatic when you finish but with ...more
Adele Fasick
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The 2007 murder of Chauncey Bailey in Oakland, California, led slowly, but inexorably toward spotlighting the Your Black Muslim Bakery and its role in city life. Thomas Peele has investigated not only the murder of this journalist, but the background of the Black Muslim movement and the founders of the Bakery.Even people who live in the Bay Area will learn a lot more than they ever knew about the history of racism and the African American community in Oakland. The book touches on many contempora ...more
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I started this book because I am committed to the idea of a free press and its power to promote transparency and justice. The journalist Chauncey Bailey was killed in 2007 (by the order of the leader of a splinter sect of the radical Nation of Islam located in Oakland) before the release of a damaging story about the sect. The author does a very capable job of presenting the history leading up to the murder and the aftermath. There are horrible acts and sloppy police work but in the end justice ...more
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-written, comprehensive history of 'American' Black Islam. It is an important book because it clarifies the difference between Islam and this cult, which was dreamed up by a Caucasian interested in preying of poor blacks. It is, at the same time, a riveting story about the Beys of Oakland and how they created and then destroyed their empire, ending with the assassination of Chauncey Bailey. Bailey was a reporter who was covering the cult. I really enjoyed it.
Paul Brandel
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I first heard about this book from listening to a talkradio show from
San Franciso.The author talk about the Beys and the murdred of Chauncey
Bailey.Well several days later I found it at the Sunnyvale,Ca library!
Others have already enumerated the specifics of this very well written
book. It's one of the best nonfiction books I've read in the last several months.

My rating is 4.5 stars!
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Exceeded expectations! I really recommend this to all my friends living in the Bay Area – I knew a little of the story here but this well-researched and gripping history really says a lot about Oakland. I myself moved into Oakland in 2009 and had seen YBMB products around the Bay, but I had no idea how they conducted themselves around town or that the Nation of Islam was so bizarre.
Daniel DeLappe
May 05, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a very interesting book. It would have been even a better book if one fourth of the book had not been used to justify the crimes of these fecal stains based on how Blacks were treated in past. Yeah, it was BS none the less trying to give any excuse to these animals to did to basically there own people is even lower then mental masturbation.

Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I won this book. Killing The Messenger is a very good book. I had to read it til the end. I did not realize that people like this were alive in this day and age. Very good reporting and very eye opening.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars
Best book I have read this year.
Ray Lucas
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book that covers how people keep putting out the Kool-Aide and Americans keep drinking it.
T Cullens
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Best book i ever read!
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A tremendous book, wonderfully written and exhaustively researched. Its careful and wide-ranging history offers the context for the development of Your Black Muslim Bakery. Fascinating.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Wow.... had no idea about this going on in this country.... mind-blowing....
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Extensively reported and investigated look at journalist Chauncey Bailey's death and the gangster 'family' behind. The politics also give you a feel for Oakland's overwhelming problems.
Bianca Beyrouti
rated it really liked it
Apr 29, 2012
rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2012
Larry Kamer
rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2016
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My journalism career began at a weekly newspaper in Bridgehampton, New York in 1983, an endeavor so small, the printing press was powered by a Ford Pinto engine mounted on blocks. From that humble beginning, I’ve worked for seven daily newspapers, starting in Newsday’s sports department, and had scores of stories in others and in magazines and journals. Today, I’m an investigative reporter for the ...more
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