This is not your typical true crime book and John Safran lets you know this right up front. He’s somewhat of an Australian comedian known for pranks who has a comedy show. He first meets “white supremacist” Richard Barrett when he travels to the state of Mississippi in the US to interview the unknowing subject for one of these pranks. As a non-practicing Jew, can he join the we hate almost everyone who isn’t white, male and Christian organization, (no, not THAT political party) the KKK. The story takes off from there and develops into an actual book when Safran hears Barrett has been murdered by a black man and heads back to this southern state to find out what really happened. What results is a mash up of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with The Daily Show, Django Unchained and a dash of Scooby Doo. Safran provides a decent snapshot of the history of civil rights and race relations in Mississippi and brings the characters to life. The southern small town becomes the caricature that it often is. At times humorous, ironic and sometimes just plain sad, God’ll Cut You Down is the right read for the right audience. Here’s a favorite quote from Safran: “Mississippi. Where even our homosexuals are rednecks.” Yes? You’re the right audience.
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