Baker & Taylor Recounts the life and political career of Nazi sympathizer and former KKK grand wizard David Duke, and discusses what his emergence reveals about American race relations
Blackwell North Amer In 1969 a pale, skinny sophomore made himself infamous at Louisiana State University by denouncing Jews and blacks at the school's weekly free-speech forum. In 1991 he made himself famous across America by championing white rights in a feverish campaign for the governorship of Louisiana. David Duke, former Nazi sympathizer and Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, lost the election, but he captured an astounding fifty-five percent of the white vote. Duke's rise provokes profound and disturbing questions: How could he have traveled so far? Has he changed? Has America changed? Is he the same demagogue with a new haircut and a natty suit, as his opponents maintain? Or has he matured into a credible spokesman for the conservative white majority, as he claims? What does his emergence tell us about race relations in the United States today? About the level of our political discourse? About how easily a slick politician can manipulate the media? About white frustration? Or does his success simply reflect the particular genius of David Duke? Award-winning journalist Tyler Bridges, who covered Duke's political campaigns for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, examines these questions in a full-length biography of one of the most intriguing political figures of the late twentieth century. Bridges presents a compelling account of a lonely boy, the child of an alcoholic mother and an aloof father, who, idolizing Adolf Hitler and pining for the glories of Nazi Germany, decided that destiny had called him to be the savior of the white race. With an impressive roster of interviews, an eye for revealing detail, and a feel for storytelling, Bridges recounts the rise of David Duke and the coming together of blacks and whites in a historic coalition in 1991 that stopped him short.