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The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness after Hate

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  43 reviews
One Sikh. One former Skinhead. Together, an unusual friendship emerged out of a desire to make a difference.

When white supremacist Wade Michael Page murdered six people and wounded four in a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin in 2012, Pardeep Kaleka was devastated. The temple leader, now dead, was his father. His family, who had immigrated to the U.S. from India when Pardeep was you
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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4.18  · 
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 ·  143 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The catalyst for The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate was the 2012 massacre at a Sikh Temple in Milwaukee. That massacre, committed by a white supremacist, resulted in the death of six men and the wounding of four other worshippers. Pardeep S. Kaleka’s father, Satwant Singh Kaleka was murdered on that infamous day in August. Following the massacre, Kaleka decides to meet with Arno Michaelis, a former white supremacist and founder of the Hamme ...more
Kristy K
I believe this is an important read. Seeing how someone's hate can destroy lives was difficult, but it was uplifting and inspirational to see these two men come together in forgiveness and peace. Michaels, a former white supremacist, and Kaleka, a Sikh whose father was murdered by a white supremacist lived two very different lives but show that love, acceptance, and forgiveness make difference.

The Gift of Our Wounds covers Michaels' and Kaleka's lives from childhood through adulthood. It was an
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, good-words
It is ironic (and somewhat of a wonder even) how a happenstance event - a wild card dealt by Life - a tragedy even - can bring about a phenomenal revelation. Such is this story “The GIft of Our Wounds”. It is a tribute to the capacity of human beings to understand each other, to talk to each other, to love each other - no matter what differences are present.

The co-authors of this book - a former white supremacist and an Indian immigrant whose father was killed in a massacre at a Wisconsin Sikh t
Madeleine Black
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an extraordinary memoir written by an unlikely friendship; a former white supremacist and a peace loving Sikh.

The chapters alternate between both of their stories and what led to their meeting and friendship. At times I found it hard to read the man Arno once was; so full of hate. And felt such sadness when I learnt how Pardeep's father was innocently gunned down whilst at prayer in his temple.

But together Arno and Pardeep shows us what is possible for humanity as they have forged a st
This is an outstanding memoir. It is told from the points of view of a former white supremacist and a man whose father was killed in the Sikh temple shooting in 2012. It is a story of their path to friendship. It is heartbreaking, moving, scary and hopeful. I found the racist rhetoric that Arno learned to be very chilling. It also reminded me again of how dangerous the country is now with people like Stephen Miller in the White House.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGa
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, memoir
Some memoirs ask us to stand with the authors by bearing witness: to their pain and their subsequent growth. In this case, two men experienced life as outsiders in their respective communities. One, due to his anger and hyperactivity, became uncontrollable and found fellowship within the white nationalist movement. The other, due to his religion and family origin, felt visibly identified as ‘other’ while his parents pressured him to maintain old world connections. As adults they found some relat ...more
This is a truly touching memoir that revolves around the August 5, 2012, shooting at The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin by a white supremacist. The authors are Arno Michaelis (a reformed skinhead) and Pardeep Kaleka (who had family killed in this tragedy. Together this unlikely duo travel the country speaking about love and forgiveness via their organization, Serve 2 Unite.

Advance Reading Copy disclosure:
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not a
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring and eye-opening, this memoir is written by the most unlikely of friends: a former white supremest skinhead leader, Arno Michaelis, and a Sikh man, Pardeek Kaleka, whose father was murdered by a man much like Arno used to be. Each tells his own story, describing their formative years and the crises that changed them.

Several months earlier, because his daughter had forgotten her notebook for Sunday School, Pardeek drove her back home to get it, making them late. When they finally did ar
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
The Gift Of Our Woundsby Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Singh Kaleka tells the story of two disparate men brought together by tragedy -- one forged by hate and the other steeped in love and forgiveness. The need to understand what drove Skinhead Wade Michael Page to open fire at a Sikh temple where Pardeep's father and several congregants were killed lead him to Arno, a former white supremacist.

The tale of their meeting and subsequent friendship is beautifully told. The book alternates between the p
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of "THE GIFT OF OUR WOUNDS" from NetGalley for an honest review. I wish to thank NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Arno Michaelis/Pardeep Singh Kaleka for the opportunity to read this book.

This book is exceedingly timely with all of the violence that we have happening in the United States currently. This book shows that if a racist skinhead and a Sikh can become brothers than we all can become ONE! The simple beauty of the book and the organization that they are involved with
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is extraordinarily amazing and beautiful heart touching memoir of a friendship between former white supremacist and a peace loving Sikh. It’s not religion, color or race that makes us different or someone bad but an individual person and their perspective, we have more in common between us than differences. Arno & Pradeep’s unlikely friendship & their courage to spread the message of tolerance and peace.. This book gives such a positive message and gives hope that we can live p ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From time to time, there's a book that excites and saddens me at the same time. The Gift of Our Wounds is that book. It's hard to put blinders on in today's political and cultural times. I want to, however. There's my problem. I want to pretend I live in a society where people simply accept each other. Where there is no racism, intolerance, and rabid hatred towards others.

I listened to Donald Trump scream "throw 'em out into the cold" when he spoke in my town. If anyone questioned him, the resp
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I had high expectations for this book (which is a sure-fire way to be let-down). I think it would have been stronger as a novel about the two’s friendship rather than a double memoir with the last 40 pages about them working together. It didn’t feel fully realized: it could have been so much stronger.

I also judge that Arno, the former racist skinhead, never actually healed the hate inside himself and has taken it into his life as a peace activist. I wonder if he’s aware of that. The way he desc
Edward Gray
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having just watched the program “Active Shooter”, one episode covered the devastating and terrible events at the Sikh temple, in 2012. I was more than intrigued to read a book about these horrid events and the ability to find forgiveness.

This book did not disappoint. I appreciated how the book is written from the point of view of both men. Understanding the struggles each faced, in order to overcome their own personal struggles respectively was inspiring. It was a struggle at points reading abou
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
"When ignorance isn't countered with wisdom, it festers and takes root in the hearts of the fearful. When hatred isn't cradled with kindness, it can corrupt the beauty of existence to the extreme that causing suffering is the only thing that makes sense anymore."

"I was suddenly hyperaware that I was a brown-skinned city kid in a school mostly made up of rural white kids. I even felt self-conscious around my white friends. When I tried talking to them about it, they told me a lot of what I was fe
Susan Wojtas
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I think this is a book everyone should read, especially with what seems like more and more hate groups coming out of the woodwork. They’ve always been there, but with social networks and more media reporting about them we are seeing it more publicly.

This book will definitely make you uncomfortable (the descriptions of the shooting at the temple and the descriptions of Arno’s past in particular were hard to read), but I think we need kind of need that uncomfortableness. It was interesting t
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In today’s world of intolerance and hate, it is a truly great gift to read a book where mutual understanding and care defeat the ugliness and help heal the pain. Uplifting and powerful. I truly enjoyed this book.
My thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Engaging. Heartfelt. Important. Follows the life story of two men connected by the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, WI and their important message of kindness and compassion in response to violence.
Rhonda Lomazow
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A touching moving book of a friendship healing between a white supremacist and a peace loving Sikh.Told in both their voices a perfect book for today’s climate,
Mar 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
The summary of this book is misleading and results in a tragic marketing error. A fraction of this book focuses on the tragic shooting that the book is supposed to be about. Rather, we are given two books: one by Pardeep Kaleka and the other by Arno Michaelis. Kaleka's account of the shooting and death of his father made me weep at times. It seemed to perfectly encapsulate the grief experienced by victims of a hate crime. It was so moving, in fact, that I wish Kaleka had been featured more. But ...more
Dan Cotter
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a memoir of two individuals, a former skinhead and a Sikh, who came together after a terrible tragedy to show that love can conquer hate. A must read about two individuals who often would not meet, let alone establish such a strong friendship and leadership.
Cynthia Egbert
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I could not put this one down and sacrificed a couple of hours of sleep to finish it. This is a very important read and I cannot recommend it highly enough in this time of conflict and hate. These two men and their choices and their movement give me hope. It is not always an easy book to read and their is some language but the message is critical. At least read the excerpts I offer below, this is powerful stuff.

"Forgiveness is a sublime example of humanity that I explore at every opportunity. Be
Chris Demer
This is ultimately an uplifting book about a former "skinhead" and violent white supremacist, (Arno) who connects with a Sikh man (Pardeep), whose father was killed by a white supremacist in the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012. The two men form a fragile friendship that deepens as they come to trust one another and eventually form an organization called Serve 2 Unite. They bring their message of peace, acceptance and reconciliation to schools and other organizations. Because of their ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"What does hate look like? Hate looks like the bullet hole in the door frame leading into the prayer room at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin—a vestige of the carnage that took place there on August 5, 2012, when a troubled man with a distorted view of what America should look like executed peaceful people inside."

Wow! This book filled me with so many emotions. I felt horror, anger, grief, disbelief, enlightenment, and hope all at the same time. The story is not just about the horrible incident that
Aban (Aby)
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A horrendous event brought two men together in a crusade to promote nonviolence and compassion, which they describe in "The Gift Of Our Wounds". Arno Michaels started out in life as a rebellious youth and went on to form a racist, skinhead organization aimed at protecting the white race. He delighted in violence. It was only when his daughter was born that he began to began to have a change of heart and to appreciate the goodness of others whom he'd once hated. Pardeep Kaleka, a Sikh whose famil ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I got a copy of this recently released book from NetGalley. It tells the story of 2 men who become friends while trying to work together to combat hate and promote peace. Pardeep Kaleka is a Sikh man who moved to Wisconsin, USA from India. His family owned a gas station and was highly involved in their Sikh Temple. Arno Michealis is a former white supremacist. After having a daughter, he turns his life around after years of violent behavior, addiction and promoting hate. He vows to attempt to ma ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Despite the headlines every day about divisions in our country and the world, I gathered hope from this book. People can change and change radically; people can try to make amends and come to understand another's points of view; people can find forgiveness for themselves and others.

Both authors are extremely candid about their emotions before, immediately after, and now today, about the 2012 slaying of Sikhs by an extremist at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Both Arno Michaelis and Parde
Susan Baumgartner
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
"If someone had shown him (Sikh temple murderer & white supremacist Wade Michael Page) love, my father and the others might still be alive."
If you want a really good example of the difference between individualist and collectivist writing, look no further than this book. Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Signh Kaleka are united in their quest to bring us closer together, but their writing styles symbolize the very divide they hope to bridge. Mr. Michaelis's past of what he did and was is extremely
Kim Raccoon
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't expect to be as moved by this as I was. The way Arno and Pardeep's stories and weaved together complements each other. It highlights the differences in them, but also the similarities.

The story does not focus a lot of the shooter. It focuses on the history and foundations of these two men and how different events in their lives sent them on a collision course for each other. I appreciate that the shooter himself is more of a footnote than anything else, and both Arno and Pardeep focus m
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The story of the friendship of Arno (a former white supremacist) and Pardeep (whose father was killed in the 2012 Sikh temple shooting by a white supremacist) is the title and the best part of this book, but it's unfortunately the shortest part. The majority of it is instead about their lives up to this point. Seems to me that the structure should have been flipped: more on forgiveness and countering hate; less on how the hate built for years. Arno's story is particularly hard to read in its ext ...more
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“So why would anyone seek to harm these good people? Why would someone take the lives of his fellow human beings with such senseless cruelty? Because hurt people hurt people. Because when suffering isn’t treated with compassion, it seethes and spreads. Because when fear isn’t met with courage, it deceives and disconnects humans from humanity. When ignorance isn’t countered with wisdom, it festers and takes root in the hearts of the fearful. When hatred isn’t cradled with kindness, it can corrupt the beauty of existence to the extreme that causing suffering is the only thing that makes sense anymore.” 0 likes
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