“Superbly written… as readable as a good novel.”
—The New York Times Book Review
Best Book of 2020: NPR • Kirkus • Electric Lit • Harper’s Bazaar
Shortlisted for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize
Far more than mere helpmeets, women have been sustaining features of white nationalism in America, from the Ku Klux Klan to “massive resistance” to civil rights to the alt-right. Through the stories of three main subjects—Corinna, Ayla, and Lana—Sisters in Hate shows how the work that women do to normalize and propagate racist extremism has consequences well beyond the hate movement.
Here’s a full description of the book. It was published on July 21, 2020 by Little, Brown, and is now available in paperback. You can order it wherever you like to get your books, including:
Featured in The New York Times, LitHub, Time, Bitch Media, Glamour, Colorlines, and more. You can listen to me talk about it on the Longform Podcast.
Coverage & Reviews
“Superbly written… skillfully combined with history and analysis, her subjects’ stories provide a better picture of the forces driving white backlash than several of the best sellers that attempted to do so in the wake of Trump’s election.” (The New York Times)
“Engaging, horrifying, and informative—Darby offers an important, fresh angle on the problems tearing our country apart.” (Kirkus)
“[A] revelatory and harrowing debut…. Darby writes with a clear sense of purpose and makes a concerted effort to understand why women would ‘fight against their own interests.’ The result is a disturbing and informative must-read.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Darby sketches her subjects finely, with a level of detail that never feels forced…. [A] dark counterpart to the books white Americans are buying by the truckload in order to learn how to talk about race.” (NPR; Favorite Books of 2020)
“[A]s engaging as it is adroit, Sisters in Hate offers an excellent explanation for the ascent of Donald Trump amid a triumphal resurgence of white supremacy, sexism and xenophobia.” (The Guardian)
“Darby exposes the important roles that women play—and have played throughout history—in movements based on white nationalism and white supremacy…. This book is eye-opening and incredibly timely.” (Booklist)
“If the end-state of hate provides a lens through which to look at the world in terms of ‘white’ and ‘Black’—to haters Black means not just people of African descent but all they find other, just as their ‘whiteness’ erases most of their own ethnicity—Darby reverse engineers the construction of that lens through portraits from which emerge not so much conclusions as possibilities. Better ways to look at hate; and, maybe, better ways to look away.” (Bookforum)
“Darby’s key intervention is to show just how far these women go in comparison to their male peers.” (The New Republic)
“Sisters in Hate offers us a critical insight into how political identities are formed in white nationalist women. It stands as both an example of a thoughtful study inclusive of women and a reminder of the role of race in extremist excavations.” (LA Review of Books)
“For those who have never encountered it firsthand, the world of right-wing extremism may seem like an alien planet. As this blockbuster exposé reveals, however, we exist in closer proximity to proud white supremacists than we may have ever suspected.” (Harper’s Bazaar)
“White Supremacy Was Her World. And Then She Left.” An essay in The New York Times.
“How Do Women Become White Supremacists?” A conversation with Rolling Stone.
“The Former Feminist Who Turned to White Supremacy.” An excerpt in Jezebel.
“Veering Right.” An excerpt in Pipe Wrench.
“Finding the Women of the White-Nationalist Movement.” A conversation with CNN.
“How White Nationalists Weaponize Motherhood.” A conversation with The Cut.
“White Women Fight for Trump Alongside Far-Right Extremists.” A conversation with The 19th.
“Hate Is Both a Collective and an Individual Failing.” A conversation with People.
“For Far-Right Movements, Ashli Babbitt Is Now a ‘Rallying Cry.'” A conversation with In Her Words.
“What White Women Gain from Racial Hatred.” A conversation with Bitch Media.
“Why the Mainstream Media Misses the Most Dangerous White Nationalists.” A conversation with Forbes.
“How Women Prop Up the White-Nationalist Movement.” A conversation with Electric Literature.
“The Women of the Insurrection.” A conversation with Ms. Magazine.
“How White Women Get Written Out of the Hate Movement.” An essay for Written Out.
“In the ‘Battle for America’s Soul,’ Women Are on the Front Lines.” A conversation with The 19th.
“From Wellness to Alt-Right Conspiracy Theory: The Strange Marriage of New Age & Far-Right.” A conversation with Byline Times.
“The White Women at the Dark Heart of Trumpism.” An essay in LitHub.
“White Women and Fascism.” A conversation with Salon.
Praise for Sisters in Hate
“Seyward Darby’s eye-opening and unforgettable book sheds light on the often-hidden movers of America’s growing white nationalist movement: women. By telling the riveting story of the lives of three women advancing their agendas of bigotry, Darby exposes the ways in which white nationalism hinges on the contributions of women.”
—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Anti-Racist
“Trump 2016. Charlottesville 2017. How to understand the unavoidable fact of masses of white women at the core of white nationalism, a movement marked by misogyny? With enormous care, Seyward Darby discovers the hungers within white women’s attraction to hateful conspiracy theories of anti-Semitism and racism. Hers is a riveting account that I could not put down.”
—Nell Irvin Painter, author of the bestseller The History of White People
“There is no more urgent story in America than the resurgence of violent white supremacist groups in America. Sisters in Hate delivers an invaluable examination of the ideologies at this movement’s core by tracing the stories of three women who found themselves seduced by lies of hatred. Darby provides the most in-depth reporting I’ve ever encountered on the role of women in this emboldened movement, while unflinchingly dissecting the misogyny implanted at its ideological core. Those who’ve spent recent years wondering ‘how’ will find the unsettling answers within this book’s pages.”
—Wesley Lowery, author of They Can’t Kill Us All
“A brave, detailed, and insightful portrait of three women who came to advocate the alt-right’s bigotry, but a portrait that is not simplistic. Especially valuable is its examination of the women’s complex and contradictory ideas about gender and the appropriate place for women.”
—Linda Gordon, winner of the Bancroft Prize and author of The Second Coming of the KKK
“This book is such an immersive, analytical look at the very unique ways in which gender operates in organized ideology and supremacy. The book essentially embeds with several women within the movement and follows their lives both within and outside organized hate. So much reporting in this arena has the capacity to focus and conclude earnestly on ‘How can people think this way?’ but Darby shows you. Through storytelling and investigation, she distills how failed institutions, government neglect, and the exploitation of women’s labor have created a fertile ground for white supremacy, specifically for women. She also details the specific roles women take up in engineering organized white supremacy and how they lend credibility to misogynistic enterprises.”
—Koa Beck, author of White Feminism
“A masterfully reported and incisive look at the virulence of American extremism, as seen through the eyes of three white women who trafficked in monstrous prejudice. Now, more than ever, it’s important to comprehend, and not look away, from the unspeakable damage caused by the far right, and Darby’s book helps us understand the critical role women play in spreading such dangerous ideas.”
—Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita
“‘Women are the hate movement’s dulcet voices and its standard bearers,’ Seyward Darby observes in Sisters in Hate—a timely, deeply reported, and chilling exploration of the role that women play in promoting white nationalism. By exploring the lives of three different women who have embraced white supremacy, Darby holds a mirror up to American society, illuminating the forces at work within our culture that continue, to this day, to lead to radicalization and violence. Sisters in Hate is a warning cry for the future while also suggesting the possibility of another, better path forward.”
—Pamela Colloff, New York Times and Pro Publica senior reporter and National Magazine Award winner
“This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the origins and depths of modern white supremacy. With dogged reporting and exacting prose, Seyward Darby not only paints a gripping portrait of the women enmeshed in hate movements, she reveals how seeds of racism take hold in minds and communities. Sisters in Hate is terrible and mesmerizing, a book perfectly pitched for this moment.”
—Evan Ratliff, author of The Mastermind, a New York Times Notable Book of 2019
“A gripping, terrifying look at the white women who are pumping racist hate into the heart of their communities. Darby’s clear-eyed and nuanced insights are essential for ending the racial hate movement in America.”
—Kathleen Blee, author of Women of the Klan and Inside Organized Racism
“A book that probes the architecture of ‘the war embedded in the landscape’ of the U.S., American identity, and the oft-overlooked role of women therein.”
―Lauren Markham, award-winning author of The Far Away Brothers
“One of the best books of 2020, and it’s not close.”
―Evette Dionne, editor in chief of Bitch Media
Want to talk about the book?
Reach me through my contact page or email Sabrina Callahan at Little, Brown:
Sabrina (dot) Callahan (at) hbgusa (dot) com
Author Photo: John Michael Kilbane