Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy

Talia Lavin. Hachette, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-306-84643-4
Journalist Lavin debuts with an alarming investigation into online extremism. After publishing a handful of articles on the far right, Lavin became the target of racist and misogynistic trolls who sent sexually explicit messages to her on Twitter and discussed whether she was “too ugly to rape” in a private chat room called the Bunkhouse. Unbeknownst to members of the Bunkhouse and other white nationalist websites and forums, however, Lavin, who describes herself as a “schlubby, bisexual Jew, living in Brooklyn,” was adopting fake online personas (for example, a “blonde, gun-toting” Iowan named Ashlynn) to monitor their conversations. The book also documents her infiltrations of a community of far-right “incels,” a “Neo-nazi terror propaganda cell,” and a white supremacist dating site. Lavin shares plenty of disturbing rhetoric and reveals eye-opening statistics on just how popular some of these communities are, but her analysis of the factors behind their appeal, and what can be done to stop online intolerance, doesn’t break much new ground. Still, this is a bracing and wide-ranging look at the internet as a breeding ground for racism and misogyny. Readers with a strong stomach for hateful ideology will find plenty of harrowing takeaways. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/08/2020
Release date: 10/13/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-6172-8
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