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Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  14,384 ratings  ·  2,086 reviews
In 1978 the community of Colorado Springs, Colorado experienced a growth of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) membership. One man dared to challenge their effort and thwart attempts to take over the city, Police Detective Ron Stallworth. He launched an undercover investigation into the Klan, gained membership into the organization, briefly served as Duke's bodyguard, and was eventually a ...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Flatiron Books (first published May 13th 2014)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  14,384 ratings  ·  2,086 reviews


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Petra-masx
The best part of the book, the pee your pants, snork your coffee, kick your legs up laughing part of the book was when David Duke came to town and despite protestations to the higher ups, Stallworth (our hero, the black cop) was detailed to protect him. Stallworth asked Duke if he could have a picture taken with him and Duke was ok with that, so Stallworth put an arm around him and Duke freaked and Stallworth was very apologetic. Stallworth then arranged with his no. 2 to take a pic on the count ...more
Licha
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. There's a great story here, it's just that it was boring, I didn't quite like the way the author came across, and I had a hard time getting through some parts of this. There were so many abbreviated groups that after a while I stopped caring which group was on what side. I also hated how every so often the author had to remind the reader how he was the one in charge of the investigation by parenthesizing that he was the one the KKK members were talking to, even when s ...more
Lori
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a great story, not the most exceptional writing. I'm glad somebody protects us from terrorist. I'm pleased that I read it!
Lauren
A fascinating story that made for a medicore storytelling experience. Stallworth could have benefitted from a ghostwriter and a heavy-handed editor. Forty year old petty grievaces against co-workers don't belong in a biography, and neither does repetition after repetition (...) His sidebars and commentary are flat with little to no nuance and description.

Where this book shines (entertains?) is in exposing what a hack many of these hate groups are/were in the 1970s. Advertising their meetings in
...more
Carole
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth seems so far-fetched that it reads like fiction. But, alas, it is non-fiction. A black police detective from Colorado Springs really did manage to infiltrate the KKK in 1978. It is a fascinating retelling of how this could possibly come about and manages to show the organization's leaders and members for who they really were. Food for thought in the volatile times we are now living in.
Mackey
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
See the movie, read the book or both - hopefully you already have done one or the other. If you haven't I encourage you to do so now. It was relevant when it happened, it is more so now. I rarely find the movie as good as or better than the book but both are fantastic.
Rebecca McNutt
To really appreciate this book, you have to ask yourself, "what if I had to befriend my enemies?" For Detective Ron Stallworth, it goes beyond that - diving deep into secret rituals, cross-burning, race meetings and more, he joins the Ku Klux Klan undercover as one member of one of the most frightening and frankly bizarre groups to exist within the United States. As the story continues, at its core it becomes less about racism and more about morality or lack thereof, and why such hatred thrives ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“Success often lies not in what happens but in what you prevent from happening.”



Here is a case where the movie is guaranteed to be better than the book. No offense to Ron Stallworth, but Spike Lee does words for a living and you, my friend, were a policeman. I’ll catch the film . . . . eventually. Most likely when it hits the overpriced movie channels/subscription services I fork over my hard earned dollars for every month with
...more
Elijah Oakes  Benson
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book, more than anything else, is a testament to authors who should hire ghostwriters. If Ron Stallworth did in fact hire a ghostwriter, he should have hired a better one. The premise, a black police officer masquerading as a card carrying member of the KKK via a white undercover surrogate, is fascinating. It is also quickly sanded to almost nothing as we learn that, ultimately, Stallworth's lengthy charade amounted amounted to little more than a funny story and speculation regarding crimes ...more
Camille
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir dragged in spots, but I admire the courage of the author to risk his life for this endeavor.

Side Note: Spike Lee did an excellent job in adapting this.
June Volz
Read like a police report, sort of dry and repetitive....The story is compelling, but a shame he had to wait so long to tell it. Biggest take away - people who belong to hate groups are not very bright.
Emily
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Black Klansman is such an intriguing story. It's a true story about a black undercover cop who infiltrates the local KKK over the phone. A movie is coming out by Jordan Peele & Spike Lee, and I'm really looking forward to it.

It was interesting to see what's changed since the 70s and what hasn't. I know some people think that racism doesn't exist anymore, or it's so much "better" now, but so many of the fucked up things that were said in this book felt familiar to today's shitty American culture
...more
Starlah
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, non-fic-i-love
"The hate-fueled, bigoted, rhetoric and terroristic intent of white supremacist thinkers like David Duke, Fred Wilkens, and Ken O'Dell was in keeping with the long generational arc of the Ku Klux Klan dating back to its founding immediately after the Civil War. We see and hear echoes of that same rhetoric and intent in the political climate of today."
Miguel
Aug 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Stallworth's wishy-washy memoir of an uneventful undercover investigation is better suited for a dinner-party anecdote than a published book. I read Stallworth's text because of an interest in Spike Lee's film, but had to put Stallworth's book down because of my objection to its reactionary political orientation. Lee's film is pretty good so I decided to finish the book, but I found myself disappointed.

Make no mistake, Stallworth is a collaborator. In this book, he recounts infiltration and sur
...more
Dotty
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Underwhelming. Poorly written. Fascinating story, but the writing was never compelling.

I’m hoping for much more from the upcoming film by Spike Lee & Co. (Which was the reason I read the book in the first place.)
...more
Fahad Naeem
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, history, memoirs
When I saw the book title, I thought it was some sort of information regarding the cult but I got very disappointed after reading it. It was a mere undercover investigation in which Ron Stallworth's name was used.

He did nothing except talking on the phone and yet he presented as if he's done something extraordinary.

It's a dry read and I found myself meandering over course of the book. The whole book comprised of the Colorado chapter and he didn't give the insight of the KKK.

One word : Disap
...more
Ken
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’d first heard about Black Klansman after seeing a trailer for the forthcoming Spike Lee movie.
I’ve always been interested in the period of American history, so I instantly wanted to see it.

As my local multiplex has delaying the release by a week (possibly because of the Bank Holiday in England?) and then discovering that it’s based on the memoirs of Ron Stallworth, the book instantly jumped to the top of my reading pile.

It tells the story of Stallworth a black police officer in Colorado Sprin
...more
ALLEN
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nearly sixty years ago a white journalist, John Howard Griffin, disguised himself as a black Southerner, and the treatment he received resulted in BLACK LIKE ME. Roughly twenty years later a black Colorado policeman, Ron Stallworth, was on the receiving end of a Klan recruitment push by someone who had never laid eyes on him. Stallworth decided to ride that off pony as long as he could, and the results wound up here in this volume, BLACK KLANSMAN. This heartfelt and achingly real volume about po ...more
Emily Mac Rae
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be searing. I am reading this book and Between the World and me. I cannot help but interject myself as a character in these two books. As an African American and mother of a son I take the moments 0f benign hatred and violence personally. There are no solutions given. There are no concluding words of comfort. I consider Ron Stallworth courageous for his work in the police force at that time. I consider him a hero for sharing his story. Many have criticized his writing style. ...more
David Schaafsma
I will now see the much lauded Spike Lee film based on this book. The description says it is drama, not comedy, but given Lee's reputation, I would not be surprised if it capitalized on the inherent humor of the situation that gets highlighted in the book. In many ways it's purely farcical!

I don't think it's very well written, not particularly well read by the author, but the story has a certain appeal, of course: In 1978 the first black policeman in the Colorado Springs, Colorado PD skims the l
...more
Kressel Housman
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by Spike Lee’s movie “BlackkKlansman” from the reviews it got this summer, but only when it was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay did I realize it was based on a book. I always like to read the book before seeing the movie, so I immediately ordered it from the library.

I’ve given the book 4 stars, but its author, Ron Stallworth, is a 5 star human being. The story of how he infiltrated and spied on the Klan is astounding in itself, but that was when he was a very young cop. He’
...more
Scott  Hitchcock
2.5*

This is really about one short investigation. If not for the section on Norad and Stallworth's short interaction with David Duke I would have rated it even lower but those were somewhat interesting.
Bert Z
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a story!! The cover and description makes it seem like something it kind of isn’t, however, it’s still a pretty bizarre story.

I do think the author could’ve been a bit more lively with his writing, it’s not badly written, but it’s a pretty eccentric story and I think it deserves an eccentric voice to tell it.

Looking forward to the film getting released next week.
Christine
This book is important in terms of what is said and not said. Stallworth may not be the most gripping writer in the world - and I don't think he is trying to be - but he tells a story everyone should read.
Michael O'Brien
This was an interesting story. Of course, it was because of Detective Stallworth, as a black man, infiltrating the KKK. But I also found it interesting in hearing his experiences as the first black officer on the Colorado Springs PD at a transitional time in America where black Americans were increasingly breaking previous barriers and moving into jobs historically unavailable to them.

Stallworth’s infiltration was both audacious and clever. The KKK members, other than David Duke , don’t come off
...more
Mehrsa
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I haven't seen the movie yet. The book is fascinating. It's a bit odd that it took so long to write and it's quite tragic that it's still relevant. This book (coupled with a few other profiles of read of the klan and white supremacist groups) makes me realize that "they're all a bunch of dumb clowns," as Stallworth overhears. I mean, David Duke is the Grandmaster Clown. It's unbelievable that the man still has any relevance at all.

Stallworth also infiltrates the black power movement. I wish he
...more
Joy
I saw Spike Lee’s movie ”Blackklansman” which was based on this book and was very impressed by it. I wanted to read the book that the film was based on and it does not disappoint. Mr. Stallworth is a great writer and his time working undercover as a Klansman in the late 70’s is quite an amazing story!

I highly recommend this memoir! And the movie is incredible as well. It doesn’t really matter if you see it before or after reading the book.
Diz
With the rise of hate groups and the alt-right these days, this book has become really relevant. The power of this true-life story is that it reveals how buffoonish and small-minded the members of the Klan were when Stallworth infiltrated it in the late 70s. If you take away the fear of the Klan, then it loses its power. It also raises hope in that the anti-Klan demonstrations these days are much more powerful than in the time of this investigation. Overall, it is an easy and fun read. The only ...more
britt_brooke
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I respect Stallworth’s tenacity, but this fell flat. This had the trappings of a compelling story, but for all the build up, it completely fizzled out. Some parts didn’t add up. And the writing and audio narration were mediocre at best. I haven’t seen the movie, and don’t plan to, but it has to be better.
Sharon :)
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blm
Reminds me of how the fight was on long before now. Sad in 2020 it’s still an issue.
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Ronell Eugene Stallworth is an American retired police officer who infiltrated the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs in the late 1970s. He was the first African-American police officer and detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department.

The 2018 film BlacKkKlansman is based on his experience infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan.

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Grab the popcorn and immerse yourself in some of the big screen's most popular adaptations on audiobook. For this roundup, we took a...
23 likes · 9 comments
“Success often lies not in what happens but in what you prevent from happening” 12 likes
“If one black man, aided by a bevy of good, decent, dedicated, open-, and liberal-minded whites and Jews can succeed in prevailing over a group of white racists by making them look like the ignorant fools they truly are, then imagine what a nation of like-minded individuals can accomplish.” 10 likes
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