Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story as Told to Jody M. Roy, Ph.D.

Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story as Told to Jody M. Roy, Ph.D.

4.7 14
by Frank Meeink, Jody M. Roy
     
 

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"The raw story of Frank Meeink's descent into America's Neo-Nazi underground and his ultimate triumph over hatred and addiction makes Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead a powerful read." "Frank's violent childhood in South Philadelphia primed him to hate. He made easy prey for a small group of skinhead gang recruiters led by his older cousin. At fourteen, he

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"The raw story of Frank Meeink's descent into America's Neo-Nazi underground and his ultimate triumph over hatred and addiction makes Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead a powerful read." "Frank's violent childhood in South Philadelphia primed him to hate. He made easy prey for a small group of skinhead gang recruiters led by his older cousin. At fourteen, he shaved his head. By sixteen, Frank was one of the most notorious skinhead gang leaders on the East Coast. By eighteen, he was doing hard time in an Illinois prison." "Behind bars, Frank began to question his hatred, thanks in large part to his African-American teammates on a prison football league. Shortly after being paroled, Frank defected from the white supremacy movement. The Oklahoma City bombing inspired him to try to stop the hatred he once had felt. He began speaking on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League and appeared on MTV and other national networks in his efforts to stop the hate." In time, Frank partnered with the Philadelphia Flyers to launch an innovative hate prevention program called Harmony Through Hockey. He is currently developing a similar program for the Iowa Chops, an AHL team affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In this profound memoir, reformed skinhead Meeink, with assistance from academic and activist Roy (Love to Hate: America's Obsession with Hatred and Violence), recounts his former life as a Neo-Nazi. Told with passion and clarity, Meeink's story begins with neglectful parents and an abusive, junkie stepfather, who sowed the anger and hatred that would make him a prime candidate for the Neo-Nazi movement that exploded in Philadelphia through the late 1980s and '90s. Before long, Meeink's mutual embrace with the National Alliance led him to his own gang of recruits and a (largely random) "holy war" that would end up haunting him: "How many of my victims had wished for death while I brutalized them?" In federal prison at age 17, surrounded by cons of all races and creeds, Meeink first began to question what he'd been taught about the "elite" Aryan race; the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing would complete his transformation, leading him to seek out the feds for confession. A brutal tour of modern American racism at its worst, a case study of traumatized youth and drug addiction, and a stark reminder of the human capacity for redemption, Meeink and Roy's account is a shocking but ultimately reaffirming read.
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Library Journal
Meeink, a south Philadelphia child of an alcoholic father and drug-dealing mother, spent over a dozen years as a minor celebrity among the neo-Nazi-skinhead fraternity. At various times he was actively addicted to alcohol, prescription narcotics, and heroin, but at its core Meeink's graphic narrative documents the relative ease through which he reached sobriety from his addiction to hatred and blinding, ultraviolent rage, most decisively by means of playing football with blacks and Latinos in prison. He writes of using his love of sports to found and run an ice hockey program (sponsored by the Philadelphia Flyers and Anti-Defamation League) that brings together youth across racial lines. Meeink's multiple addictions coexist with his multiple recoveries. Even as he builds a career as an inspirational speaker against White Power violence, he is descending into full-blown junkie status. Those familiar with 12-step programs will recognize themes in Meeink's experience: the secret life, extended abstinences, spectacular relapses. The book ends hopefully, with Meeink finishing his story—undertaken, incidentally, as his "fourth step" moral inventory—roughly one-year sober. VERDICT For those inspired by redemption, this quick-paced, sometimes nasty memoir will uplift.—Scott H. Silverman, Earlham Coll. Lib., Richmond, IN
Kirkus Reviews
Intensely raw memoir of a reformed Neo-Nazi. Meeink spent most of his childhood being knocked around in South Philly by his stepfather and running from gangs between his bus stop and his grade school. By age 20, the author was the leader of Strike Force, a local chapter of the Aryan Nation. "I felt the rage boiling inside me until I thought I was going to puke or scream or die . . . We are footsoldiers in God's army. Right. Left. We are the enforcers of God's law. Right. Left. Our race is our fucking religion," he writes. He had already had his own cable-access show, escaped from a mental institution, been to prison and attempted suicide on more than one occasion. Since skinheads associate drug use-not including alcohol-with minorities, Meeink was vehemently opposed to using drugs. However, as soon as he left the "movement," without the Neo-Nazi ethos and peer pressure to keep him in check, Meeink floundered into a daily drug habit, supplied at first by his addled mother. He is now a recovering skinhead and a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. His debut is a boot-stamping march through desperation, hate, violence and salvation, covering his rise to skinhead stardom and his eventual recovery from his destructive vices. Since 1995, the author has been teaching children and young adults about the consequences of conformity and the regrets of a misspent youth. He runs Harmony through Hockey, a community-outreach program endorsed by the Philadelphia Flyers that teaches children the values of unity and equality. It is through his organization that Meeink's gentler side takes over, demonstrating how much a strong will can be misdirected with hatred and how difficult it can be to redirect itwith love. Indelicate and harsh, but never preachy or whiny, this is an intimate, uncompromising memoir. Though it hits some predictable notes-mostly because of Edward Norton's familiar character in American History X-it speaks forcefully from experience. Fearless, enduring story of human fragility and strength.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780979018824
Publisher:
Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/16/2010
Pages:
316
Sales rank:
437,791
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Knowing a little about Frank before reading the book, i was very interested. I bought the book for my boyfriend to read because he has met Frank and wanted to read his book, little did I know I would finish the book before he even picked it up. I could not put it down. It draws you in and lets you really get to know Frank. Very very good book!!
jg24nwc More than 1 year ago
I was first fascinated by an interview with Frank on NPR Fresh Air. From there I knew I needed to buy the book. My thought was that we owe it to ourselves to be informed and listen to (read) other people's thoughts and life experiences so that we may also learn. This book is very well written in my view ... told from Frank's point of view. It is an easy read and keeps your attention through the entire book. If you ever wondered how someone becomes a skinhead - this is the book to read. If you ever wondered how someone becomes an ex-skinhead, this is the book to read. If you ever wanted to know how to prevent someone from becoming a skinhead, this is the book to read. This book takes you through ever gutter, alley, fight and love that Frank experienced. His ups and downs - physically and emotionally. It is a great conversation starter just by the title alone but also by the topic it is centered on. Loved it.
Caterly More than 1 year ago
When I heard Frank Meeink interviewed on National Public Radio recently, I knew I had to buy this book. I work in a prison, and know of this kind of belief system that the minority of white young men espouse to feel less powerless in an overwhelmingly black prison population. It is a microcosm of the powerlessness felt by increasing numbers of young white males in a country which, probably by this 2010 census, will be revealed that a number tipping over 50% of the population will be listed as "people of color" as compared with the percentage of white population in the U.S. Why should we know about this? Because it will impact our children who attend college and who are exposed to neo-Nazis like Frank Meeink, who wrote about a college student who he once "held down so another skinhead could pry a hammer from his head...when I glanced down at the bloody face of [the] college student, I had been seized by a horrible realization: 'He could be my Uncle Dave,' my childhood hero, the guy I could've been, should've been, if everything in my whole f'g. life had been different...But I'd shaken that thought off the second it flashed across my mind, and I kicked that poor college kid more, harder...I laughed at his suffering...And for years...I believed I was fighting a holy war...I was raining down God's justice on an evil world." Read this book and find out from the inside why a skinhead like Frank Meeink became who he was, and why he decided to stop being what he was. Knowledge, I tell my "guys" in prison, is power--and so is awareness! I am waiting for the response paper written by one young man who told me that "Hitler fought a holy war". I'm hoping this will start a dialogue, which will be interesting, at least. We all live in our safe little lives, but when something like the Oklahoma City bombing happens, and someone like Frank Meeink says he knows why and how it might have happened, it behooves us to listen and learn. Well written and a fascinating and unfortunately timely subject! I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book goes to show the depths of hell someone is willing to stoop to when they let satan rule their lives. But, more importantly, the good that can come out of surrendering our will to God and letting Him control our lives. What a powerful force for evil, turned into a powerful force for good!!
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Alex Davalos More than 1 year ago
Great story from the start. I could not stop reading it.
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