THE GIFT OF OUR WOUNDS by Arno Michaelis


A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate
Email this review


Tragedy opens a dialogue between a former white supremacist and an Indian immigrant whose father was killed in a massacre at a Wisconsin Sikh temple.

As the title suggests, bad can lead to at least some good, and violence to healing, when it gets different kinds of people to talk to each other, understand each other, and even learn to love each other. Early on, Serve 2 Unite co-founder Kaleka admits, “my anger was eating me alive” following the 2012 murder of his father amid a shooting rampage by a white supremacist. Though former skinhead Michaelis (My Life After Hate, 2010) hadn’t known the killer, he recognized him as if he were looking in a mirror at his younger self. “My gut told me what no one was reporting yet,” he writes. “This was a strike by the radicalized far-right movement. An attack to say, ‘You’re threatening our race and we’re going to eliminate you before you destroy us.’ It had all the markings of white supremacists—specifically, racist skinheads, the faction I helped to establish nearly twenty years before.” The narrative alternates between the immigrant’s story of coming to and adjusting to the Midwest and the one-time racist’s story of years venting his rebellious anger and then eventually overcoming it. It climaxes with the murderous attack, which left emotions raw and both co-authors searching for answers. They found them in each other and successfully established a dialogue that bridged their very different backgrounds and led to the formation of Serve 2 Unite, an organization of “relentless optimism in the face of adversity” through which the two “continue their mission as brothers in a quest to bring about healing and wage peace.”

An instructive book that attempts to extend the message of brotherhood and compassion that has been forged from tragedy.

Pub Date: April 10th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-250-10754-1
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2018


NonfictionPERFECTLY CLEAR by Michelle LeClair
by Michelle LeClair
NonfictionCOLD SWEAT by Yamma Brown
by Yamma Brown
NonfictionFIELDS OF GRACE by Hannah Luce
by Hannah Luce


NonfictionARE RACISTS CRAZY? by Sander L. Gilman
by Sander L. Gilman
NonfictionPUNCHING NAZIS by Keith Lowell Jensen
by Keith Lowell Jensen
NonfictionBREAKING WHITE SUPREMACY by Gary Dorrien
by Gary Dorrien