preload preload preload preload

Hate Crimes Revisited: America’s War On Those Who Are Different Basic Books Jack Levin


31st January 2012 History Books 17 Comments

Hate crimes-violence aimed at individuals because they are members of a particular group-were once considered the rare illegal actions of a small but vocal assortment of extremists who thrived on hating minorities. No more. In this new book by two of the country’s leading experts on hate crimes, published ten years after their classic book of the same name, these most-recognized authorities and media commentators reinterpret this scourge of our generation-hatred based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, and even citizenship. In the aftermath of the worst act of terrorism in this country’s history-the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001-the authors probe the causes and characteristics of such acts of hatred and, most vitally, their consequences for all of us.

“I challenge anyone interested in the future of our country to read this book.” — Morris Dees, Chairman, Executive Committee, Klanwatch, Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Alabama

“Levin and McDevitt have performed an invaluable public service with this book.” — Bruce McCabe The Boston Globe

Jack Levinis the Brudnick professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University, where he directs its Brudnick Center on Conflict and Violence. He has written numerous books and articles about hate and violence, has been featured in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, USA Today, and numerous radio and television news programs and talk shows. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Jack McDevitt is a leading academic expert on hate crimes in America. He directs the Institute for Research on Race and Justice at Northeastern University. An expert witness for a number of congressional panels on hate crimes, he lives in Massachusetts.

“I challenge anyone interested in the future of our country to read this book.” — Morris Dees, Chairman, Executive Committee, Klanwatch, Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Alabama

“Levin and McDevitt have performed an invaluable public service with this book.” — Bruce McCabe The Boston Globe

Hate Crimes Revisited: America’s War On Those Who Are Different










  • 17 responses to "Hate Crimes Revisited: America’s War On Those Who Are Different Basic Books Jack Levin"

  • pop frame
    12:15 on January 31st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    If any of us profess to sincerely care about this evil crime, and about race and prisons in America, this book is a must-read. The writing about this frightening, ugly subject is professional, insightful, comprehensive, and exquisitely rendered. Joyce King, at no small cost to herself, has given us a gift that we may not want, but we desperately need, that she hopes, even perhaps at no small cost to ourselves, we will actually DO something about instead of just talk about.

  • TrafficWarden
    12:40 on January 31st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book is fantastic reference for anyone interested in doing research on hate crimes. Levin and McDevitt know what they’re talking about!

  • oldschool
    20:52 on January 31st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I found the novel Hate Crime to be exciting and captivating in a morbid sort of a way. The author describes the characters and events without any type of gruesomeness or hysteria, so I was able to continue reading the story with anticipation for what would happen next. I did not however enjoy the reporting part of the story. The actual trial I thought was a lot of filler, although I understood why it was wriiten in that manner. Ms. King is a reporter and that part of her writing style emerges as she retells this horrific story. It is a good story to use when comparing the writing styles of storytelling by two very different authors such as Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) v. Joyce King’s novel.

  • Karla Shelton
    2:14 on February 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    As a reader, I was informed of evey detail that was involved in this case and I was left without any questions. I was grateful for that and King’s attention to detail.

    As a writer, I was impressed by the author’s dedication to the story. She left no stone unturned in her analysis of the case. Even at times where the story was dragging, there was important information being included.

    At the end of this book, I was also grateful that this story had been told. Racism is prevalent in America yet events like these are rarely visited.

  • Dagmar Naguin
    12:34 on February 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book was many things to me. Disturbing, insightful and educational. The book depicts the Mr. Byrd’s death so vividly that at times I felt myself being dragged behind the truck. I had to put the book down many times but I was unable to stay away for long. The author did a very good job of exploring the backgrounds of the men convicted of this heinous crime. You must be made of stone to be left untouched after reading this book.

  • webdiva
    22:05 on February 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Hate Crime is about lethal problems-intolerance narrow-mindedness, contempt to name a few. King writes creative nonfiction that deals with heavy issues. Her usage of scenes puts the reader in Jasper, TX. This book should be read by everyone to enlighten them to these shocking and deplorable problems that still exist today. By exposing these wrongs we can examine them and hopefully alleviate them.

  • pop frame
    0:56 on February 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    During the summer of 1998, James Byrd Jr., was dragged to death by three men in Jasper, Texas. Joyce King offers a detailed account of the racially motivated murder and the three emotional trials that followed. King’s novel offers the facts of the case as well as a fair examination into the reason why Byrd was killed. This book highlights the cruelty of hatred and racism, as well as the desire to move beyond it in the name of justice.

  • AOL Hater
    9:44 on February 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Joyce King was the CBS reporter, who reluctantly accepted the duty of covering the murder trial of alleged killers, King, Brewer and Shawn Berry. The were tried for the dragging murder of James Byrd Jr. on the night of June 7, 1998. Whether or not you remember this story making news or not, like the recent book of the events leading up to the racially motivated murder of Emmit Till, this is a text that painfully informs readers that racisim is still alive and killing.
    The author does a fine job of placing the reader beside the killers on the night of the actually killing, in their heads, as well as giving us a first row seat in courtroom to hear both the defenders and prosecurtors of the three accused men.
    The story is powerful, and emotional. We also gain entrance into a bit of Joyce King’s personal struggles with dealing with the case, how she stands up to it physically and emotionally, and even some of her opinion, like, “The jury likes her. Hell, some of them probably know her.” Which I think takes away something, rather than adds to a journalistic text such as this.
    But with all that being said, it is a disturbing, but neccesary read that not only documents, but informs readers that, although Americans have come a long way, there is still such a long way to go.

  • oldschool
    17:57 on February 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    The beginning of this book was awful – not awfully written – just awfully sad, awfully detailed, awfully ugly.
    Midway through the story, the writer’s knack for describing the small to convey the “bigness” of this particular mundanely categorized hate crime sickened me. She wrote “The [...] is shredded and [...] removed by the dragging.” It sickened and shamed me. I was embarrassed for having not known – embarrassed for failing to pay attention to the particulars. Embarassed for having filed this person’s story in a makeshift generic Emmit Till file.
    After being forced to view (in a sense) the victim’s remains, and being made aware of the remorseless attitudes of the perpetrators, I had little patience for the writer’s need to explore and explain prison culture in such depth. I was not interested in theories that placed blame anywhere other than squarely upon the hearts and souls (or lack thereof) of the persons who dared to commit such a heinous act.
    However, upon completing the book I was satisfied. The writer had meticulously attended to every facet of the story. I appreciated the way the writer interrupted the factual reporting with personal narrative. It kept the reader mindful that the story being told was true and real. Though reading this story was at times painful, gruesome and grueling, I realize that facing this reality was necessary in order to give purpose to the suffering endured by James Byrd, Jr.

  • nedendir
    19:23 on February 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Hate Crime: A Review

    The first few pages of Hate Crime will have you turning each page slow and methodical like to ensure there is not one piece of information missed from this powerful piece of creative non-fiction by Joyce King. Imagine the incident, “He felt every single weed, every endless speck of grass and dirt, every chasm, and every inch of asphalt.” Not only does King draw the reader into the horrific crime that happened that fateful night in Jasper Texas, but she manages to put a human face on this person only known to the world as James Byrd; the Black man dragged through the dusty back roads of this small country town for only one reason and one reason only-he was a Black man. King recreates Byrd’s impending death from what appears to be countless interviews from everyone involved in the life of James Byrd, including his killers.

    From a literary standpoint, the way King enters and exits her narrative provides an on hands experience that the reader needs to validate the information being processed. Then there is the Byrd family and how they cope with the brutality and viciousness of this murder. There is a touch of humanism in this story that rarely gets to be told, much less heard. What engrosses the reader in this story are the interactions of the killers leading up to the commitment of the crime. King provides background analysis through story telling that brings these perpetrators to life. She takes us inside the courtroom and gets in the heads of the prosecution and defense teams. The pictorial she paints of the jurors upon reviewing the photos of fragmented pieces of James Byrd: arm, flesh, torso will having you screaming for justice! This is clearly a book that takes a serious look at the social dynamics of America and is held under no illusion as to the classification of race in this country.

  • Dagmar Naguin
    5:42 on February 3rd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    A great book that covers the tragedy from beginning to end. It is very informative with a human side.

  • Now what?
    14:09 on February 3rd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    When King came to our campus to lecture about this book, I was naturally interested in attending, but believed I knew the story already. (A man had been brutally murdered in a small Texas town because of his skin color).

    I am glad I went on impulse because both the presentation and the book throughly examines intersections of race, gender, ecconomic status while imploring all of us to work together for the proverbial betterment of human society. What it lacks for in volume it more than makes up for with substantive content and heart-wrenching insight.

    Alternating between detached reporting and personal narratives, this story chronicles the best and the worst of human condition. Just because it is easy to simplify things into a ‘soundbyte binary’ does not mean the action effectively generates learning, indeed such labeling effectively stops the process.

    Without dilluting Byrd’s saga, the author also recounts her complex feelings during the investigation. Briefly living among the residents of Jasper Texas in order to complete the book, she learned good people come from all backgrounds and there was no shortage of townspeople (including the law enforcement) who roundly condemed the act.

  • pop frame
    17:00 on February 3rd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Hate crimes by Joyce King was a very interesting piece. I remember when the news of the dragging of a black man in Texas hit Chicago, I was not surprise. It just shows me that racism is not dead and this is how they now deal with racism in the 21st century. I can see the jouralism in this book but after all this is the author’s town, plus she is a jouralist so this must have been very emotional for her. Nevertheless, she did do a good job in relating the facts as well as the details of this horrible crime. I got a lot out of this book. The author was very brave in doing this piece being from Texas and all. It lets us all know that racism will never be finish until Jesus comes back.

  • susies
    5:00 on February 4th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    King’s meshing of the genres creates an interweaving of a true to life event. She gives all the angles the proper amount of respect and decency. Through memoir, journalism, including impressive research and newswriting, and a sometimes humorous storytelling technique she implants the reader, whom she has cleverly made an unwilling participant, into the town of Jasper and into the lives of 3 troubled young murders. The story humanizes all involved and gives a unique perspective of the police officers, prosecuters and the press selected to cover the trial and the story. It is powerful in its truth and profound in it’s honesty and vision. In his physical absence she has painted a picture of the victim, James Byrd Jr. The book makes the story leave an imprint because now the reader has not only hear the story but has bore witness to the event.

  • HPBlue
    14:46 on February 4th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book was definetly an eye opener to what happened and also to a problem that our nation does not want to admit we have. Racism is becoming more and more of an issue and this book, and the horrible “dragging”, really opens eyes to what is going on.

  • nedendir
    16:13 on February 4th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    The poignant details in “Hate Crime” deliver a rich narrtive re-telling the sad truth of a racially prompted dragging in Jasper, Texas. An effective rendering of the story is achieved by King’s omnipresence throughout the book. She is both the narrator and a character. The duality of roles and narrative voices offer insight to characters and their feelings. Fluid boundries leave room for the reader to experience a flood of emotions that varies and moves just as the ocean tide. Characters are introduced and re-introduced. It is a story of friends and foes, love and war, and an infinite weaving of lives. Written in a gritty, yet compassionate perspective, Hate Crime teaches that the notion of racially unbias respect and equality is still a long time in the making.

  • cjinsd
    22:47 on February 4th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    this Book is very much on point to me.it’s no secret here in the United States we have come so far but we have so far to go.this is a Friendly Reminder of a time not so long ago.this Book details that&so much more.truth be told as much Hatred that still goes down you couldn’t tell if it was 1898 or 1998? truth be told not much has changed overall.James Byrd should have been front Page News all over the World.Much Props to Dennis Rodman for Contributing to the Byrd Family a Story that went almost unnoticed by the Media.

  • Leave a Reply

    * Required
    ** Your Email is never shared