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Murder in Mississippi by John Safran

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Dear Diary,
To be a fan of True Crime means you are a consumer of someone else's tragedy.

It's vital that the utmost respect is paid, and the story is well-written.

['Murder in Mississippi' by John Safran]

This book, the Australian version, puts a different spin on the True Crime genre because it emphasizes shock value. A controversial Australian journalist with a reputation for pushing boundaries regarding race, pulls a public prank on a white supremacist in Mississippi. Upon learning of his murder, he befriends his black killer and writes this book.

The author visits "the murder house" where the white supremacist was killed, interviews the detectives, defense attorneys and prosecutors; talks to the families, reads the files, transcripts and reports - it's obvious he covered both sides, did his best to remain unbiased, and did his research. Any time he hypotheses one angle or direction, he's caught off guard by a revelation that presents more questions than it does answers.

In America, it's published under the title, God'll Cut You Down.

It was an interesting account, as it provided a perspective of America's disease of racism from a non-American. It noticed that the Confederacy is still revered, and the resulting oppression of a population is visible in the neighborhoods and businesses. White areas were maintained by the state and cities better than the black areas. White initiatives were better funded, and there were still "segregation schools".

I felt no compassion towards the victim in this story, which is atypical for a True Crime book.

Instead, and while I don't condone the act of murder, I felt an understanding towards the perpetrator. I didn't find the humor John Berendt, who wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, referenced in his review of the book, but I do consider this perspective one everyone should read about.

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