Murder in Mississippi

Murder in Mississippi 10

The True Story of How I Met a White Supremacist, Befriended His Black Killer and Wrote This Book

by John Safran

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 25/09/2013

4/5 Rating 10 Reviews Add your review
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.
True crime
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John Safran

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 also co-hosted Sunday Night Safran, a radio talk show on Triple J with cranky but beloved Catholic priest, Father Bob Maguire.

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  • by on | Report abuse

    I have been a fan of John Safrans TV series and radio shows for a while. When Id heard about his new book and its premise I was really interested to read it.

    Murder is Mississippi is the true-crime investigation to the murder of white supremacist, Richard Barrett, by a black man, Vincent McGee. Safrans delivery is of the investigation is interesting, flowing and full of the recognizable Safran-isms. From what initially appears to be a racial crime, complexities of each individuals case develop and as it unfolds it makes you question whether either parties can be called completely innocent or guilty.

    An entertaining and riveting book, the perfect true crime read for summer!

  • Unconventional True Crime

    by on | Report abuse

    Enjoyable read, mainly because of Safran's style. It's hard to read without imagining his voice in your head, and if you already find him irritating (as some do) this is not the book for you. If you've liked his previous work, however, I'm sure you'll enjoy this story of his attempt to write a true crime book (which, as it turns out, he did).

  • by on | Report abuse

    John Safran is one of my favourite documentary makers. I find him to be an outstanding story teller, making sure that his facts are accurate while infusing some of his humour in his works. I guess this is what makes Murder in Mississippi such a good read, despite it being a non-fiction title.

    The premise and the cover intrigued me so I ended up buying a copy. I must admit though that I had my doubts about this book. I mean, I have such high expectations for any work produced by Safran and I was concerned that I made a mistake buying this book right away. Fortunately, Murder in Mississippi lived up to my expectations.

    I also noticed that Safrans writing style made me feel like I was part of the documentary team. His descriptions of the characters and situations were vivid. I even found myself asking what the motive behind the murder was even before reaching that part of the book. Was it all because of racism? Or was there an even deeper political agenda behind the killing? This documentary even hinted at sex as a possible angle for the murder.

    I feel bad that a murder had to happen so that I can enjoy another great Safran documentary, but this book is really worth reading if youre into investigative journalism.

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