When filming his TV series Race Relations, John Safran spent an uneasy couple of days with one of Mississippi's most notorious white supremacists. A year later, he heard that the man had been murdered – and what was more, the killer was black.
At first the murder seemed a twist on the old Deep South race crimes. But then more news rolled in. Maybe it was a dispute over money, or most intriguingly, over sex. Could the infamous racist actually have been secretly gay, with a thing for black men? Did Safran have the last footage of him alive? Could this be the story of a lifetime? Seizing his Truman Capote moment, he jumped on a plane to cover the trial.
Over six months, Safran got deeper and deeper into the South, becoming entwined in the lives of those connected with the murder – white separatists, black campaigners, lawyers, investigators, neighbours, even the killer himself. And the more he talked with them, the less simple the crime, and the world, seemed.
Murder in Mississippi is a brilliantly innovative true-crime story. Taking us places only he can, Safran paints an engrossing, revealing portrait of a dead man, his murderer, the place they lived and the process of trying to find out the truth about anything.
About the Author
John Safran is an award-winning documentary-maker of provocative and hilarious takes on race, the media, religion and other issues. John first hit TV screens in 1997 on Race Around the World (ABC-TV). Both John Safran's Music Jamboree (SBS, 2002) and John Safran vs. God (SBS, 2004) won Australian Film Industry awards for Best Comedy Series and Most Original Concept, and were also nominated for Logie Awards. Other shows include John Safran's Race Relations (ABC-TV, 2009) which was nominated for two awards at the prestigious Rose d'Or Festival in Switzerland and Speaking in Tongues (SBS, 2005-06). John currently co-hosts Sunday Night Safran, a radio talk show on Triple J with cranky but beloved Catholic priest, Father Bob Maguire.
Reviewed by 3 customers
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I like John Safran and the concept is a sound one. However, I did find it a very slow read; some of the detail is quite exhausting and there are many characters and you occasionally need to backtrack to remember who is who. John feels compelled to not only tell the story but also discuss everything he was doing while he was getting his information e.g. driving a car, eating a sandwich etc. He does introduce the book as being partly about the part he plays in the events, but he goes into too much detail describing his efforts and some of them are quite unnecessary. As a consequence, the book is probably 50-75 pages longer than it needs to be. I did learn quite a bit about how Mississippi works and this was quite enlightening.
Absolutley loved it, couldnt put it down. Cannot wait for a second book by Safran.
I enjoyed the journey but I expected an exciting ending and I was a bit disappointed. It opened my eyes to the racism in the South.
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 25th September 2013
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.3 x 3.3
Weight (kg): 0.59
Edition Number: 1