Fearless investigative journalist takes a deep dive into the dark world of online racist hatemongers - and shows us how we can fight back
"One of the marvels of this furious book is how insolent and funny Lavin is; she refuses to soft-pedal the monstrous views she encounters." - The New York Times
"Lavin writes like her hands are on fire, forcing us to take a hard look at our ugliest truths." - Pamela Collof, The New York Times Magazine & Pro Publica
Talia Lavin is every fascist's worst nightmare: a loud and unapologetic young Jewish woman, with the online investigative know-how to expose the tactics and ideologies of online hatemongers. Outspoken and uncompromising, Lavin's debut uncovers the hidden corners of the web where extremists hang out, from white nationalists and incels to national socialists and Proud Boys.
In stories crammed with catfishing and gatecrashing, combined with extensive, gut-wrenching research, Lavin goes undercover as a blonde Nazi babe and a forlorn incel to infiltrate extremist communities online, including a whites-only dating site. She also discovers the network of disturbingly young extremists, including a white supremacist YouTube channel run by a 14-year-old girl with nearly one million followers. Ultimately, she turns the lens of anti-Semitism, racism, and white power back on itself in an attempt to dismantle and quash the online hate movement's schisms, recruiting tactics, and the threat it represents to politics and beyond.
Shocking, provocative and humorous in equal measure, and with a take-no-prisoners attitude, Culture Warlords explores some of the vilest subcultures on the internet and how they're doing their best to infiltrate the mainstream. And then she shows us how we can fight back.
"Culture Warlords is a necessary and urgent read that could not have come at a much better time. Thoroughly researched and engaging, this debut demonstrates the work of a fearless reporter." - Morgan Jerkins, New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing
In Culture Warlords, Talia Lavin capably leads readers through chilly tunnels of loathing, burrowing deep into dens of violent racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny. She describes communities of hate and how they're growing with precision, seriousness, and humor. Even as she takes on multiple identities, readers will find in her a steady and often lyrical guide: transparent about her fears, fury, and ever-changing sense of self. Culture Warlords is surely brutal and urgent; it is also unexpectedly delicate. - REBECCA TRAISTER, New York Times bestselling author of All the Single Ladies and Good and Mad
As someone who has gone undercover and waded through the dark trenches of white supremacy, I know firsthand how jarring it can be to find yourself in the belly of the beast - and the courage it takes to dig your way to the other side. Culture Warlords is a searingly original and breathtaking feat of fearless journalism, and it is required reading for anyone who seeks to understand the nefarious context for the world we live in today. - RON STALLWORTH, New York Times bestselling author of Black Klansman
Talia Lavin's Culture Warlords is a necessary and urgent read that could not have come at a much better time. You will be astounded at the depths to which Lavin sinks to expose how far and wide white supremacy spreads across both real-life meetings and internet communities. Thoroughly researched and engaging, this debut demonstrates the work of a fearless reporter. - MORGAN JERKINS, New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing and Wandering in Strange Lands
Culture Warlords is a shock to the system - an urgent, incendiary work that takes us into the most hate-filled corners of American culture. Having immersed herself, Gonzo-style, in a toxic online world where white supremacy is the norm, Talia Lavin shows us the fun-house mirror reflection of American culture. Lavin writes like her hands are on fire, forcing us to take a hard look at our nation's ugliest truths." - PAMELA COLLOF, New York Times Magazine and ProPublica