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When a nineteen-year-old member of a Black Muslim cult assassinated Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey in 2007—the most shocking killing of a journalist in the United States in thirty years—the question was, Why? “I just wanted to be a good soldier, a strong soldier,” the killer told police.   A strong soldier for whom? Killing the Messenger is a searing work of narra When a nineteen-year-old member of a Black Muslim cult assassinated Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey in 2007—the most shocking killing of a journalist in the United States in thirty years—the question was, Why? “I just wanted to be a good soldier, a strong soldier,” the killer told police.   A strong soldier for whom? Killing the Messenger is a searing work of narrative nonfiction that explores one of the most blatant attacks on the First Amendment and free speech in American history and the small Black Muslim cult that carried it out. Award-winning investigative reporter Thomas Peele examines the Black Muslim movement from its founding in the early twentieth century by a con man who claimed to be God, to the height of power of the movement’s leading figure, Elijah Muhammad, to how the great-grandson of Texas slaves reinvented himself as a Muslim leader in Oakland and built the violent cult that the young gunman eventually joined. Peele delves into how charlatans exploited poor African Americans with tales from a religion they falsely claimed was Islam and the years of bloodshed that followed, from a human sacrifice in Detroit to police shootings of unarmed Muslims to the horrible backlash of racism known as the “zebra murders,” and finally to the brazen killing of Chauncey Bailey to stop him from publishing a newspaper story.    Peele establishes direct lines between the violent Black Muslim organization run by Yusuf Bey in Oakland and the evangelicalism of the early prophets and messengers of the Nation of Islam.  Exposing the roots of the faith, Peele examines its forerunner, the Moorish Science Temple of America, which in the 1920s and ’30s preached to migrants from the South living in Chicago and Detroit ghettos that blacks were the world’s master race, tricked into slavery by white devils. In spite of the fantastical claims and hatred at its core, the Nation of Islam was able to build a following by appealing to the lack of identity common in slave descendants.  In Oakland, Yusuf Bey built a cult through a business called Your Black Muslim Bakery, beating and raping dozens of women he claimed were his wives and fathering more than forty children.  Yet, Bey remained a prominent fixture in the community, and police looked the other way as his violent soldiers ruled the streets.   An enthralling narrative that combines a rich historical account with gritty urban reporting, Killing the Messenger is a mesmerizing story of how swindlers and con men abused the tragedy of racism and created a radical religion of bloodshed and fear that culminated in a journalist’s murder. THOMAS PEELE is a digital investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group and the Chauncey Bailey Project. He is also a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism.  His many honors include the Investigative Reporters and Editors Tom Renner Award for his reporting on organized crime, and the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. He lives in Northern California.


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When a nineteen-year-old member of a Black Muslim cult assassinated Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey in 2007—the most shocking killing of a journalist in the United States in thirty years—the question was, Why? “I just wanted to be a good soldier, a strong soldier,” the killer told police.   A strong soldier for whom? Killing the Messenger is a searing work of narra When a nineteen-year-old member of a Black Muslim cult assassinated Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey in 2007—the most shocking killing of a journalist in the United States in thirty years—the question was, Why? “I just wanted to be a good soldier, a strong soldier,” the killer told police.   A strong soldier for whom? Killing the Messenger is a searing work of narrative nonfiction that explores one of the most blatant attacks on the First Amendment and free speech in American history and the small Black Muslim cult that carried it out. Award-winning investigative reporter Thomas Peele examines the Black Muslim movement from its founding in the early twentieth century by a con man who claimed to be God, to the height of power of the movement’s leading figure, Elijah Muhammad, to how the great-grandson of Texas slaves reinvented himself as a Muslim leader in Oakland and built the violent cult that the young gunman eventually joined. Peele delves into how charlatans exploited poor African Americans with tales from a religion they falsely claimed was Islam and the years of bloodshed that followed, from a human sacrifice in Detroit to police shootings of unarmed Muslims to the horrible backlash of racism known as the “zebra murders,” and finally to the brazen killing of Chauncey Bailey to stop him from publishing a newspaper story.    Peele establishes direct lines between the violent Black Muslim organization run by Yusuf Bey in Oakland and the evangelicalism of the early prophets and messengers of the Nation of Islam.  Exposing the roots of the faith, Peele examines its forerunner, the Moorish Science Temple of America, which in the 1920s and ’30s preached to migrants from the South living in Chicago and Detroit ghettos that blacks were the world’s master race, tricked into slavery by white devils. In spite of the fantastical claims and hatred at its core, the Nation of Islam was able to build a following by appealing to the lack of identity common in slave descendants.  In Oakland, Yusuf Bey built a cult through a business called Your Black Muslim Bakery, beating and raping dozens of women he claimed were his wives and fathering more than forty children.  Yet, Bey remained a prominent fixture in the community, and police looked the other way as his violent soldiers ruled the streets.   An enthralling narrative that combines a rich historical account with gritty urban reporting, Killing the Messenger is a mesmerizing story of how swindlers and con men abused the tragedy of racism and created a radical religion of bloodshed and fear that culminated in a journalist’s murder. THOMAS PEELE is a digital investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group and the Chauncey Bailey Project. He is also a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism.  His many honors include the Investigative Reporters and Editors Tom Renner Award for his reporting on organized crime, and the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. He lives in Northern California.

30 review for Killing the Messenger: A Story of Radical Faith, Racism's Backlash, and the Assassination of a Journalist

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Gross

    For several months in the mid 2000s, I lived on the same block in North Oakland as the Your Black Muslim Bakery compound. If I knew then what I know now... damn. What a horrible knot of evil. I was lucky to get out alive, and I just thought I had a room in a shitty house somewhere. But another thing this book points out is how much the Oakland Police Department is on the one hand thoroughly harmful in their malevolent brutality, and on the other hand completely worthless in their pretensions of fu For several months in the mid 2000s, I lived on the same block in North Oakland as the Your Black Muslim Bakery compound. If I knew then what I know now... damn. What a horrible knot of evil. I was lucky to get out alive, and I just thought I had a room in a shitty house somewhere. But another thing this book points out is how much the Oakland Police Department is on the one hand thoroughly harmful in their malevolent brutality, and on the other hand completely worthless in their pretensions of furthering justice. If they could somehow be abolished by fiat, policeless Oakland would, perhaps by surprise, find itself much better off. This book is a good examination not only of the particulars of the Chauncey Bailey killing, which if not for the persistent investigation of the Chauncey Bailey Project would have been poorly investigated by the authorities and mainstream media, but also of the context and history of the rise of the weird and menacing American "black muslim" mythology and hucksterism.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    Not sure if I know enough about the political nuances here but will say this was very well written and engaging.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Of the few true crime tales I've read, this is by far the best. It blows Devil in the White City away for sure. Peele definitely writes likes an investigative reporter, even to the point that you can tell that he's smug like many investigative reporters I've met. (I've never read Friday Night Lights because I met Buzz Bissinger in college before I'd heard of the book and, while I thought Bissinger had a way with words from his lecture, I also thought he was so egotistical, I couldn't bring mysel Of the few true crime tales I've read, this is by far the best. It blows Devil in the White City away for sure. Peele definitely writes likes an investigative reporter, even to the point that you can tell that he's smug like many investigative reporters I've met. (I've never read Friday Night Lights because I met Buzz Bissinger in college before I'd heard of the book and, while I thought Bissinger had a way with words from his lecture, I also thought he was so egotistical, I couldn't bring myself to read his book. Reading this book, I got a similar vibe about Peele.) Despite that, this was a fascinating story, and the book was well researched. Some may find it too bogged down in history, but I appreciated getting more insight into Detroit and the connections between Oakland and Detroit. I didn't know anything else about the Nation of Islam's ties to Detroit aside from what I'd read in Middlesex. I'm curious to hear what my J-school friends think of this book. With just the Oakland and journalism angles alone, I had a good deal of interest to keep me engaged. While I have only been to Detroit once, I hear a lot of stories about what it was like growing up so near there from my boyfriend. I would like to hear the opinions of one of my friends without so many personal connections.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    In the classic vein of nonfiction that seems more over the top than anything a fiction writer could get away with, Thomas Peele presents us the sordid tale of a family dynasty as tyrannical and twisted as history can get, all nestled in the ghetto of Oakland, CA. The Bey dynasty has all the makings of Caligula settling down in Waco, TX. Rape, murder, slavery, and the journalist who tried to expose it only to be murdered in the streets. It's a book that will horrify you that such acts are still In the classic vein of nonfiction that seems more over the top than anything a fiction writer could get away with, Thomas Peele presents us the sordid tale of a family dynasty as tyrannical and twisted as history can get, all nestled in the ghetto of Oakland, CA. The Bey dynasty has all the makings of Caligula settling down in Waco, TX. Rape, murder, slavery, and the journalist who tried to expose it only to be murdered in the streets. It's a book that will horrify you that such acts are still possible, and horrify you all the more in the connections Peele makes to the rampant racism that opened the door for Bey's atrocities. At times the book felt almost a little TOO thorough, dramatizing sequences of political corruption, say, that dragged the storyline down, but the overall impact of this book is a force to be reckoned with.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maya Hollinshead

    It is unusual to have a true crime book (which I am calling this) with African-American victims and suspects. This is one of the books. Chauncey Bailey was killed by a member of fringe set of Black Muslims in Oakland, CA in 2007. But the book goes deeper than the crime. It follows the history of the Black Muslims in America, how this sect was created by Yusuf Bey and how Bey and his son, Yusuf Bey IV, terrorized the streets of Oakland (and how no one was able to stop them). It took me several we It is unusual to have a true crime book (which I am calling this) with African-American victims and suspects. This is one of the books. Chauncey Bailey was killed by a member of fringe set of Black Muslims in Oakland, CA in 2007. But the book goes deeper than the crime. It follows the history of the Black Muslims in America, how this sect was created by Yusuf Bey and how Bey and his son, Yusuf Bey IV, terrorized the streets of Oakland (and how no one was able to stop them). It took me several weeks to finish the book, but I enjoyed it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anjanette

    I got this free from Read It Forward. This is an amazing story. I can't understand how Yusuf Bey and his sons managed to escape justice as long as they did. This is a very thorough account of the family's crimes and cons. Although it skips around to different time periods and follows different people instrumental in the creation of the Black Muslim sect and the Your Black Muslim Bakery offshoot, it is never hard to follow.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    This was so well researched, and so well written. I had to keep stopping to tell myself it was non-fiction, his writing is so vivid and well paced it reads like a novel. If you live in the Bay Area it is a must read. One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jess Mowry

    Tricknology Comes In All Colors It’s often said that the devil is in the details. For example, it’s often the small things that become the most important in making a legal case. Most experienced writers would agree that this concept also applies to their profession: the tiniest details can make or break a story. This may tempt authors into emphasizing or embellishing details that seem to reinforce a theme; to present the facts in a way that fits the frame. One may receive impressions of this in th Tricknology Comes In All Colors It’s often said that the devil is in the details. For example, it’s often the small things that become the most important in making a legal case. Most experienced writers would agree that this concept also applies to their profession: the tiniest details can make or break a story. This may tempt authors into emphasizing or embellishing details that seem to reinforce a theme; to present the facts in a way that fits the frame. One may receive impressions of this in the first forty pages of Killing The Messenger, Thomas Peele’s new book about ideology, murder, and journalism, set primarily in Oakland, California. For instance, one may wonder why the author, who in the first paragraph of the introduction states, “Oakland was little more than a place I passed through to get anywhere,” should choose to inform the reader of gritty little details such as Oakland’s Lake Merritt “had been created from a drained swamp in the 1860s,” or at low tide the area where the lake drains into the San Francisco Bay (actually the Oakland Estuary) “reeked of rotting mussels ripped open by hungry gulls.” He might have said that Lake Merritt is the largest saltwater lake located within an urban area and is quite picturesque. And what could be more natural than seagulls feeding on mussels? But of course he was trying for gritty atmosphere; just as one could add grit to San Francisco’s image by mentioning that much of the riprap around its Aquatic Park is composed of old tombstones leftover when the city moved most of its graveyards to Colma in the early twentieth century. Likewise, the author repeatedly describes the neighborhood around the (former) Your Black Muslim Bakery on San Pablo Avenue, home base for the semi-legit organization that this book is about, as being the “North Oakland ghetto.” Having frequented this bakery for fish sandwiches, as well as still passing through the neighborhood at least once a week, this reviewer can attest that while it’s not one of Oakland’s upscale communities, it’s far from being a ghetto. Nor did this reviewer ever find the bakery’s visible staff anything less than pleasant, neat, clean, and physically undamaged -- particularly in regard to ostensibly battered females -- or observe the “compound” being guarded by “thugs in bow ties” or “the frenzied pit bull and mastiffs" (one may wonder what was frenzying them) though that would have certainly been wise at night, and many businesses take similar precautions. None of which is to say that this reviewer admired the Black Muslims or agreed with their doctrine -- though the sandwiches were killer -- but rather to note that superfluous details, especially when one already has an ironclad case, may undermine credibility. For example, when the author describes the kitchen of Your Black Muslim Bakery as housing “steaming industrial ovens, assault rifles leaning against them, spent cartridges and banana clips scattered on the rat shit-flecked kitchen floor,” readers may wonder why there was (apparently) shooting going on among baking buns, and/or why Black Muslims were (again, apparently) exempt from State Health Department inspections. (One may also wonder how Mr. Peele was able to observe all this.) Just as an experienced pilot noting technical errors or inaccurate descriptions might doubt an author’s qualifications to write about airplanes, so, too, many readers who have experienced inner city life, if not actually in Oakland, may begin to distrust the author. Earning readers’ trust is especially important when an author is writing about black people, who are so accustomed to being misrepresented and negatively portrayed that many automatically distrust or outrightly dismiss anything written about them, especially by a non-black author. It is therefore unfortunate that the first three chapters of Killing The Messenger appear, at least to this Oakland-based reviewer, as if Peele was trying too hard to set his stage and included a few doubtful props.   While Part One of this book, opening with the August 2, 2007 gangstuh-style murder of Chauncey Bailey, an Oakland Post editor who was working on a story about Your Black Muslim Bakery, may abound with gritty descriptions of thugs, thuggery, and Dashiell Hammett meets Boyz n the Hood atmosphere, one quickly forgives Peele when he settles down to solid journalistic writing, especially since Peele was a principal in the Chauncey Bailey Project, an ad hoc group of journalists dedicated to reporting the circumstances of Bailey’s death. But, though the hook is the murder of Bailey, an undistinguished journalist whose article, Peele notes, would probably not have been very good, Bailey is actually a very minor character. The real story is about the Black Muslims, and particularly the Oakland-based Bey family. For decades, Peele reports, the Beys used their health food bakery as a front for criminal activity, operating largely untouched by police. (The bakery’s founder, Yusuf Ali Bey, actually ran for mayor of Oakland in 1994.) It was only when the erratic, overmatched Yusuf Bey IV assumed control in 2005 that everything began to crumble. With exceptions noted and forgiven, Killing The Messenger is a very well written and thoroughly researched book; this becoming apparent as one gets deeper into it. Like James A. Michener, when Thomas Peele writes on a subject he begins at the roots, in this case a man named Wallace Dodd Ford, aka Walli Dodd Fard (and many other akas), who filled out a draft card on June 5, 1917 stating his birthplace as Shinka, Afghanistan, his birth date as February 26, 1893, and his race as “Caus” (presumably an abbreviation of Caucasian)... ironic, since he was the co-founder of what would become the Black Muslim faith, after teaming up with a spiritual charlatan who styled himself Noble Drew Ali from Morocco, though reputedly born Timothy Drew in North Carolina, USA. (It should also be understood, as Peele makes clear, that the Black Muslim “faith” is Islamic in name only, just as the Ku Klux Klan bills itself as a Christian organization.) The book, backed up by 74 pages of acknowledgments, notes, and bibliography, traces the history not only of the faith itself -- which was based upon the same kind of “Tricknology," a term coined by its founders to describe the deceptions, misinformation and outright lies foisted upon black people by whites to keep them confused and disunited -- but also the individual histories of the principal men involved. Unlike the Black Panther Party, which had its roots in Oakland and was for the most part purely political, the Black Muslims cloaked their militancy in pseudo-religion, encouraging violence not only in their brainwashed believers but also providing a justification to those who simply wanted to hate and act out their hatred by killing. Peele brings vital historical context to the contemporary aspects of his tale: the establishment of the Bey family in Oakland, the rise and fall of the Your Black Muslim Bakery Reich, and the eventual murder of Chauncey Bailey; a foolish, arrogant, and typically thuggish act, which, rather than removing a perceived threat to the organization, actually brought it down. As with virtually all the dramatis personae in this book, including Elijah Poole (later to become Elijah Muhammad) and Yusuf Bey IV, the young high-priest of Your Black Muslim Bakery and supreme commander of its less-healthy sidelines, Peele offers detailed studies of their origins and backgrounds, often not without sympathy in regard to conditions, environment, and events in their lives which may have contributed to what they became. For example, we learn the life history of Devaughndre Monique Broussard, who would become Bey’s hit-man for Chauncey Bailey’s murder; an all-too typical story of a young black man raised in a soul-crushing environment of poverty, drugs, and violence in Richmond, California who wasn’t strong enough to somehow rise above it or see though that kind of Tricknology. As Peele acknowledges, though most of these men had seedy backgrounds, it was pretty difficult for any black man, especially during the first half of the twentieth century, to be squeaky-clean in regard to white laws, morals, and values. Peele’s extensive research about the horrific oppression of black people in the U.S., not only during the early but though most of the twentieth century, serves well to explain part of Killing The Messenger’s subtitle: Racism’s Backlash, the backlash being the rise of an organization claiming to be a religious faith professing hate toward white people. But, Peele is not hesitant to give white devils their due, whether brutal and murderous police, racist politicians, journalists or officials, or discriminatory government, city, or business policies. He describes several attacks by police upon Black Muslims in various cities that ended in outright murder of black men, the officers involved invariably cleared of any wrongdoing, just as, in the recent past, police in the Bay Area have gotten away with the murders of black men with excuses that would be laughable had they not left someone dead. Hardly a wonder that, then as now, certain young black men would be attracted to an ideology that encouraged them to fight back. Throughout the book’s 350 pages, Peele presents detailed accounts of how various individuals became involved with and/or ensnared by the Black Muslim movement; some idealistically, many -- especially young black men intellectually stunted by the U.S. public education system and emotionally scarred by the US judicial and prison systems -- because it offered opportunities no one else seemed willing to offer. Broussard, for example, a once-promising student who lost his way, is Peele’s Exhibit A: an impressionable youth who was lured by the financial and emotional shelter the Beys provided. Did anything positive come out of this? While Peele seems a bit cloudy on this point, he also appears to imply there did. Though he may have somewhat embellished the grit and grimness of Oakland, he also seems to acknowledge the thousands of young black men taken in off the streets or when fresh out of prison who would have likely been behind bars -- or behind bars again -- had they not been offered productive jobs and educated in matters of self-worth, physical and mental discipline, and personal integrity, and who may well have gone on to live better lives by using these teachings as a basis to self-educate and think for themselves. In other words, Peele seems to realize there are shades of grey in everything—no absolute evils, no untarnished goods, and few saints or devils without their own motives. Killing The Messenger may well be the best, most thoroughly researched, and -- with exceptions noted -- most objective of any book thus far written on this subject, and is no doubt destined to become required reading in many colleges and universities. Hopefully it will also be read in prisons to educate young black men that Tricknology comes in all colors. If the devil is indeed in the details, Peele has given us many demons to exorcise.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    Outside the realm of my typical reads (thanks Dad for the recommendation), but this was a fascinating true crime story about a cult-like pseudo-religion and the violence left in their wake, including the cornerstone of the book, the murder of a journalist. Got bogged down a little bit in the first 1/3 with some of the history behind the group - hard to follow at times - but once the story shifted to the rise of the group, the murders, and trial, it became utterly fascinating.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Excellent journalism!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Don

    An expose on the Black Muslim origins and a tense thriller. Excellent read, wild, riveting and educational. My only complaint is that it ended too soon.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erich Hayner

    Mr. Poole fabricates details in order to achieve a more readable book. I have lived under the influence of the Black Muslim Bakery (BMB) for nearly 20 years of my life. I bought their food, talked with ex-members, and watched Bey IV lord around my neighborhood. I even watched old man Bey on his absurd tv show too. I know a lot about the BMB and I can tell you, Mr. Poole has got a lot of this right. Unfortunately, Poole is an embellisher and an editorializer. This book portrays itself as a purely Mr. Poole fabricates details in order to achieve a more readable book. I have lived under the influence of the Black Muslim Bakery (BMB) for nearly 20 years of my life. I bought their food, talked with ex-members, and watched Bey IV lord around my neighborhood. I even watched old man Bey on his absurd tv show too. I know a lot about the BMB and I can tell you, Mr. Poole has got a lot of this right. Unfortunately, Poole is an embellisher and an editorializer. This book portrays itself as a purely nonfiction work but simply is not. There are details throughout the book that are made up and because of this, I find myself unable to rely on it as a factual resource. Example: Bey's men accost crack dealers, scatter their glass vials of drugs onto the pavement, and crush them with the heels of their shoes. And utter fabrication. I have spoken with several former crackheads that I know and all will tell you that it has NEVER been sold that way here. The only place that glass vials were used, as far as I can determine, have been on the cable series "The Wire". Why does this matter? Although minor in detail, it demonstrates that Mr. Poole has used fiction as some of the research in the writing of this book; One can only conclude that there must be other problems with the facts in this "nonfiction" book. Fact checking seems to be absent here, and there are many indications of this book being rushed to press. Shame on the publisher! As for the shameless editorials throughout, I'll leave that to the reader to decide.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A disturbing chronicle of violence, corruption, and failure of a government to act in its people's best interests. Thomas Peele's profile of Your Black Muslim Bakery sets a true crime profile against the fascinating history of the Black Muslim movement, the Great Migration from the South and ultimately to Oakland, and Oakland's economic and political traditions. At times, the book seems overdramatic, and it was hard for me as a reader to evaluate the quality of the research or validity of certai A disturbing chronicle of violence, corruption, and failure of a government to act in its people's best interests. Thomas Peele's profile of Your Black Muslim Bakery sets a true crime profile against the fascinating history of the Black Muslim movement, the Great Migration from the South and ultimately to Oakland, and Oakland's economic and political traditions. At times, the book seems overdramatic, and it was hard for me as a reader to evaluate the quality of the research or validity of certain claims. Overall, I appreciated the book's strong storytelling and loved the opportunity to learn more about the history of my new hometown, even though the history in this case was sordid and discouraging on Oakland's ability to provide for its people.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I was really interested to read this book because the Your Black Muslim Bakery violence was so close to home geographically. The author rambles a bit and I found his lack of a timeline meant that I'd forget what was going on. He also seemed to NOT be impartial. Which I got considering he was part of the Chauncey Bailey Project but also not when I expected of a journalist. and a major guilt b/c I used to stop by the YBMB kiosk at the Oakland airport when I flew between 1999-2002 and grab a sandwic I was really interested to read this book because the Your Black Muslim Bakery violence was so close to home geographically. The author rambles a bit and I found his lack of a timeline meant that I'd forget what was going on. He also seemed to NOT be impartial. Which I got considering he was part of the Chauncey Bailey Project but also not when I expected of a journalist. and a major guilt b/c I used to stop by the YBMB kiosk at the Oakland airport when I flew between 1999-2002 and grab a sandwich and a pie. Now I know that the woman who sold them to me was most likely raped and beaten on a regular basis.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adele Fasick

    The 2007 murder of Chauncey Bailey in Oakland, California, led slowly, but inexorably toward spotlighting the Your Black Muslim Bakery and its role in city life. Thomas Peele has investigated not only the murder of this journalist, but the background of the Black Muslim movement and the founders of the Bakery.Even people who live in the Bay Area will learn a lot more than they ever knew about the history of racism and the African American community in Oakland. The book touches on many contempora The 2007 murder of Chauncey Bailey in Oakland, California, led slowly, but inexorably toward spotlighting the Your Black Muslim Bakery and its role in city life. Thomas Peele has investigated not only the murder of this journalist, but the background of the Black Muslim movement and the founders of the Bakery.Even people who live in the Bay Area will learn a lot more than they ever knew about the history of racism and the African American community in Oakland. The book touches on many contemporary concerns, not only racism and political power, but also the role of journalism in society and the importance of a free press. This is a book that concerned citizens need to read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Peace

    A depressing book about a tawdry group of people. As seems to be usual with so many cults, arrogance, murder, rape, humiliation, delusion, hate, fraud, child molestation, manipulation, fear, guns, and religion holler out from every page. Lots of books are like that. But here the difference is that there is no hope, there are no good guys, each page an unrelenting panoply of horror. I recommend this book, but be prepared to not really want to turn the page, to be ecstatic when you finish but with A depressing book about a tawdry group of people. As seems to be usual with so many cults, arrogance, murder, rape, humiliation, delusion, hate, fraud, child molestation, manipulation, fear, guns, and religion holler out from every page. Lots of books are like that. But here the difference is that there is no hope, there are no good guys, each page an unrelenting panoply of horror. I recommend this book, but be prepared to not really want to turn the page, to be ecstatic when you finish but with a bad taste that's hard to get out of your mouth. And to all you who believe a theocracy is the answer, be careful what you wish for, because this nightmare wasn't a dream.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I started this book because I am committed to the idea of a free press and its power to promote transparency and justice. The journalist Chauncey Bailey was killed in 2007 (by the order of the leader of a splinter sect of the radical Nation of Islam located in Oakland) before the release of a damaging story about the sect. The author does a very capable job of presenting the history leading up to the murder and the aftermath. There are horrible acts and sloppy police work but in the end justice I started this book because I am committed to the idea of a free press and its power to promote transparency and justice. The journalist Chauncey Bailey was killed in 2007 (by the order of the leader of a splinter sect of the radical Nation of Islam located in Oakland) before the release of a damaging story about the sect. The author does a very capable job of presenting the history leading up to the murder and the aftermath. There are horrible acts and sloppy police work but in the end justice was served. The ethics of the police and newspaper profession are explored.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    This is a well-written, comprehensive history of 'American' Black Islam. It is an important book because it clarifies the difference between Islam and this cult, which was dreamed up by a Caucasian interested in preying of poor blacks. It is, at the same time, a riveting story about the Beys of Oakland and how they created and then destroyed their empire, ending with the assassination of Chauncey Bailey. Bailey was a reporter who was covering the cult. I really enjoyed it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paul Brandel

    I first heard about this book from listening to a talkradio show from San Franciso.The author talk about the Beys and the murdred of Chauncey Bailey.Well several days later I found it at the Sunnyvale,Ca library! Others have already enumerated the specifics of this very well written book. It's one of the best nonfiction books I've read in the last several months. My rating is 4.5 stars!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniel DeLappe

    This is a very interesting book. It would have been even a better book if one fourth of the book had not been used to justify the crimes of these fecal stains based on how Blacks were treated in past. Yeah, it was BS none the less trying to give any excuse to these animals to did to basically there own people is even lower then mental masturbation.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Exceeded expectations! I really recommend this to all my friends living in the Bay Area – I knew a little of the story here but this well-researched and gripping history really says a lot about Oakland. I myself moved into Oakland in 2009 and had seen YBMB products around the Bay, but I had no idea how they conducted themselves around town or that the Nation of Islam was so bizarre.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    I won this book. Killing The Messenger is a very good book. I had to read it til the end. I did not realize that people like this were alive in this day and age. Very good reporting and very eye opening.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    A tremendous book, wonderfully written and exhaustively researched. Its careful and wide-ranging history offers the context for the development of Your Black Muslim Bakery. Fascinating.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

    Best book I have read this year.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Extensively reported and investigated look at journalist Chauncey Bailey's death and the gangster 'family' behind. The politics also give you a feel for Oakland's overwhelming problems.

  26. 5 out of 5

    T Cullens

    Best book i ever read!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ray Lucas

    Great book that covers how people keep putting out the Kool-Aide and Americans keep drinking it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Wow.... had no idea about this going on in this country.... mind-blowing....

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    This was a fascinating read, went through it very quickly and enjoyed it and learned a lot.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Smotrouble

    Shocking story of psychopathic murderers masked as a religious institution in Oakland, CA.

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