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A hundred little Hitlers : the death of a…
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A hundred little Hitlers : the death of a black man, the trial of a white… (vuoden 2003 painos)

– tekijä: Elinor Langer

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
832251,412 (4)1
On November 12, 1988, a group of Portland, Oregon, skinheads known as East Side White Pride encountered three Ethiopians in a street fight, resulting in the brutal death of Mulugeta Seraw. For award-winning journalist Elinor Langer, the Seraw case is the launchpad for a thorough investigation of the Nazi-inspired racist movement in the United States. She vividly reconstructs the world of the skinheads: their origins in the punk scene, their basement shrines to Nazi power, their moments of glory on Oprah and Geraldo. She examines the long-standing radical groups that encouraged the movement, tracking the progress of such powerful figures as White Aryan Resistance leader Tom Metzger through key bastions of the Far Right. In gripping detail, she follows civil-rights lawyer Morris Dees's efforts to prove Metzger responsible for the Portland killing-a sensational campaign to curb the growth of neo-Nazism. Compelling, disturbing, and important,A Hundred Little Hitlers is both an epic account of racism and justice and a close examination of social forces that loom ever more dangerously today.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:Dynaflow
Teoksen nimi:A hundred little Hitlers : the death of a black man, the trial of a white racist, and the rise of the neo-Nazi movement in America
Kirjailijat:Elinor Langer
Info:New York : Metropolitan Books, 2003.
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America (tekijä: Elinor Langer)

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näyttää 2/2
This is an interesting and disturbing book that is well worth the reading time. The book is disturbing on many levels, for the story it tells and, at times, for the author's own attitudes.

The initial story is a simple one, albeit the author is sometimes very insightful in her telling of it. Racists skinheads, egged on by their equally racist girl friends, have a chance encounter with not entirely sober Ethiopian immigrants, beat the heck out of some of them and kill another. This ultimately results in the usual round of plea bargains in which the defendant skinheads receive sentences that are probably lighter than what they were due, but in which justice is nominally served. These crimes also eventually result in what was probably a mostly politically motivated trial in which the Southern Poverty Law Center [acting on behalf of a relative of the murdered victim] squares off against two of America's leading propagandists for racism, Tom Metzger and son, and obtains a financially ruinous civil judgment against the Metzgers.

The author spends a reasonable amount of time giving us some background on the victims of this crime - people who were or are remarkably like most of our forbearers of several generations back. She also spends what is, IMHO, an excessive amount of time on the backgrounds of the perpetrators of the crime and their close associates. The theme in the latter set of minibiographies is how most of these thugs have had deprived childhoods resulting in total social disorientation.

The objectives of the book are three fold: (1) the author wants to illustrate for us the racist background of a part of the Western United States and how that historical background lapped over into the recent late 20th century; (2) she wants to illustrate how quickly neoNazism can take hold of a given subculture; and (2) she wants to deplore the civil trial against the Metzgers as a travesty of justice and an abuse of the judicial system. She is successful in making out a case for her first objective. She wholly fails in her second objective. And she is, unfortunately, partially successful in her third objective, while contradicting herself at numerous points along the way.

The author's concerns over the threat of neoNazism springs from a confusion of symbols with reality and, consequently, misses what should be a real concern. The skinheads in her story were unquestionably racists and clearly immersed themselves in Nazi and American racist [Klan] symbols and slogans. The point of that immersion was, however, to simply give their disgustingly violent and drug laden lives some magic signs to hang onto and to throw in the face of the world. They could have easily, and with the same degree of understanding and commitment, latched onto Satanists or Revolutionary Maoists or whatever other in-your-face symbolisms came their way. The real Nazis, the ideological Nazis, whose objective were well focused and executed were the Metzgers and their ilk. Yet it is exactly those people with whom the author seems most sympathetic.

The more critical error in this volume is the author's love hate relationship with the American justice system. On the one hand she seems to have some vague and sporadic understanding that justice is not a simple thing and that the procedures that in fact protect rights have grown up through trial and error [no pun intended] over centuries. The justice system is a tool well suited to its purpose. But just as a wrench can be correctly used to accurately tighten a screw, it can also be misused as a club when that is the goal of the participants in the process. In the instant case of the civil trial of the Metzgers by the SPLC the goals of all parties, not just the SPLC, were focused on something other than obtaining justice.

The author makes out a convincing case that the goal of the SPLC was to use the court as a political tool to crush those whose views it was ideologically opposed and to raise donations to its own treasury. Yet, one is left with the impression that the author thinks that the general objective of fighting racism is a good one, but that to utilize available tools in that fight is somehow slimy. Further, one should, apparently, never materially benefit from successfully waging such a struggle. There is a certain odor about this argument that reminds one of the "reasoning" of those tracts which denounce "International Jewish Bankers" as sometimes useful, but basically deplorable and dangerous.

While the author mentions, more or less in passing, that the Metzgers also came to their trial as a political stage, and that they elected to run their own case and "defend" themselves largely for that reason, she then seems to entirely miss the boat on the necessary implications of that kind of "I don't want justice, I want publicity" orientation by a defendant. Despite sentences and paragraphs to the contrary, one gets the impression that the author really believes that the case against the Metzer's for conspiracy to commit tort damages should have been transformed, at the initiative of the Court, into a constitutional case principally concerned with free speech. The author apparently feels, without very clear articulation, that defendants, who she herself illustrates to have made a career out of inciting violence, should have been exonerated from paying damage to a victim of such violence, despite their own utter failure to show that such incitements were usually general and nonspecific and were not directed to actually result in any particular violence at a particular time and place. IMHO it is one thing to maintain that the Metzgers case was winnable, had they stuck to and developed the facts illustrating that they had no direct connection to the subject murder. It is entirely a different thing to maintain the naively silly position that the Metzgers should not have been found to be guilty when they ran their case as a political campaign rather than a lawsuit. I am, however, left with the firm impression that the author believes they should have been found "not guilty" on some vague principal of abstract justice, regardless of how, or for what purposes, they conducted their defense.

This is an interesting book, well worth reading, for the factual descriptions it gives of those who pass through its pages. We get a real feel for what the lives of young street punks from the American nihilist underbelly are really like. We get some insights [not insights that many naive "idealists" will welcome, but insights nonetheless] into what ideological political struggle is really like. We get a fairly good, if somewhat too sketchy, look at the "radical right" racists subculture in this society. The strengths of this book are many, it is just the author's conclusions that need some work. ( )
2 ääni lawecon | Nov 7, 2009 |
Very compelling story that centers around the murder of an Ethiopian man by a group of skinheads on Nov. 12 1988, right around the corner from my house in Portland...

The book does a good job at providing personal profiles for each significant character as well as addressing a few key histories. There is a fascinating summary of the history of race relations in Portland, contributing to the fact that it still currently holds the title for "whitest big city." This summary includes a retelling of the community of Vanport and its subsequent flooding, and the fact that Oregon did not ratify the 15th amendment until 1959! The other key history is that of the development of the Neo-Nazi movement centered around Tom Metzger, a former (perhaps current) resident of the city that my parents currently reside in.

I thought the author did a good job of presenting a lot of relevant arguments and material and although she never condones the ideology or actions of the skinheads, she does bring up details regarding how the cases were handled that show how the skinheads never really had a chance to defend themselves properly.

A very easy, very interesting read. My only qualm (and perhaps I'm expecting too much out of a piece of nonfiction) was that I found the writing awkward and clumsy at times, but does the job of getting information across. ( )
  araridan | Apr 6, 2008 |
näyttää 2/2
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

On November 12, 1988, a group of Portland, Oregon, skinheads known as East Side White Pride encountered three Ethiopians in a street fight, resulting in the brutal death of Mulugeta Seraw. For award-winning journalist Elinor Langer, the Seraw case is the launchpad for a thorough investigation of the Nazi-inspired racist movement in the United States. She vividly reconstructs the world of the skinheads: their origins in the punk scene, their basement shrines to Nazi power, their moments of glory on Oprah and Geraldo. She examines the long-standing radical groups that encouraged the movement, tracking the progress of such powerful figures as White Aryan Resistance leader Tom Metzger through key bastions of the Far Right. In gripping detail, she follows civil-rights lawyer Morris Dees's efforts to prove Metzger responsible for the Portland killing-a sensational campaign to curb the growth of neo-Nazism. Compelling, disturbing, and important,A Hundred Little Hitlers is both an epic account of racism and justice and a close examination of social forces that loom ever more dangerously today.

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