In August 2017, violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, during two days of demonstrations by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and counterprotesters, including members of antifa and Black Lives Matter. Ostensibly motivated by the city’s plans to remove Confederate statues from two public parks, members of the alt-right descended first on the University of Virginia and then, disastrously, on the city’s downtown. As these violent and ultimately deadly events gripped the attention of the nation, extensive coverage in both mainstream and fringe media promulgated competing narratives.
Summer of Hate is the investigative journalist Hawes Spencer’s unbiased, probing account of August 11 and 12. Telling the story from the perspectives of figures on all sides of the demonstrations, Spencer, who reported from Charlottesville for the New York Times, carefully recreates what happened and why. Focusing on individuals including activists, city councilors, faith leaders, and the police, Spencer creates an objective, panoramic narrative that renders these dramatic events, and the ongoing conflicts underlying them, in all their complexity.
"Hawes Spencer's Summer of Hate is a careful, pointillist narrative of the people, events, and controversies that came together in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017. Spencer is scrupulously careful to report only the facts and the truth about a brutalizing summer that still shapes Charlottesville a year later. Through his detailed tableaux, the tale emerges of a city still engaged in a profound reckoning over whether it might ever come together, or if it will pull itself further apart."
"In often shocking detail, Hawes Spencer recounts the awful events leading up to, and following August 11th and 12th, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Summer of Hate is a sober reminder that racism and bigotry run deep, and that ridding humanity of these plagues will require equal measures of determination and courage—not just in one small city—but throughout the world."
Summer of Hate: Charlottesville, USA, by the journalist Hawes Spencer, traces [the city’s history of political agitation], as well as they myriad political proxy battles around the statue that convulsed the city during the Obama years.... The book's subject is less the spectacle of alt-right protestors marching in defense of Lee than the less visible work of the organizers and local politicians who played an instrumental role in the events of August 11 and 12: not only in showing up to protest the alt-right but in provoking Richard Spencer and his compatriots to rally in the first place.
Hawes Spencer is a journalist who has reported for the New York Times, NPR, the Hook, and other publications. He has taught journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University and James Madison University.