The College of Charleston has chosen Eli Saslow‘s Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist for its 2019 The College Reads! book.

‘Rising Out of Hatred’ has been selected as the 2019 The College Reads! book.

Published in 2018 by Penguin Random House, Rising Out of Hatred is the true story of Derek Black, a prominent white nationalist who eventually disavowed everything he was taught to believe, albeit at tremendous personal cost. With great empathy and narrative verve, Saslow follows the migration of white-supremacist ideas from the far-right fringe to the White House and asks what this man’s story can tell us about America’s increasingly divided nature.

Through Black’s intensely personal saga, this book provides an introduction to white nationalism, which has been the subject of continued public scrutiny and media attention. Rising Out of Hatred helps readers understand this American moment better – and understand one another, as well. Underscoring the value of developing close personal relationships with people whose beliefs differ from your own, it also illustrates the transformative power of higher education and the college experience: Facts, research and strong teaching in a liberal arts curriculum all matter in shaping and reshaping beliefs and opinions.

Saslow, a Pulitzer Prize–winning author and staff writer for The Washington Post, first heard about Black when he was working on a story about Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who in 2015 killed nine African-American parishioners at Emanuel AME Church two blocks from the College of Charleston campus. Roof had spent a lot of time on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront, which Black’s father founded. It was there that Saslow found countless posts denouncing Black as a traitor to the movement.

Read Derek Black’s New York Times opinion piece renouncing white nationalism.

The College Reads! is the College of Charleston’s campus-wide common reading program designed to connect students, faculty and staff around a single book. All incoming students and roster faculty receive a copy of the book (alternate formats are available). Additional  copies are made available for borrowing and sharing widely across campus. All faculty and incoming students are encouraged to read this selection as it will be connected to the academic curriculum and campus activities throughout the year. Events will be announced in the fall.