Only a month after his arrest for planting bombs which killed three and mutilated scores in London in 1999, Nazi nailbomber David Copeland began a passionate correspondence with a delightful young English rose called Patsy. As he awaited trial, Copeland bombarded Patsy with letters detailing his disturbed background, crackpot beliefs and most intimate feelings. Through letters alone, he fell madly in love with his tender-hearted penfriend.
But Copeland wasn't writing to the petite 20-year-old blonde of his imagination. His 'sweetheart' was in fact a burly 40-year-old nightclub bouncer called Bernard O'Mahoney, who in the past had used the same means to coax confessions from two child-killers. O'Mahoney's earlier hoaxes helped secure life sentences for these murderers and so too did his correspondence with Copeland when the letters surfaced at the nailbomber's Old Bailey trial.
But the extraordinary tale of how O'Mahoney snared Copeland is only a small part of Hateland's larger, more remarkable story. For the book is primarily the narrative of O'Mahoney's own gradual transition from Nazi thug to Nazi opponent. It marks his public renunciation of the hate-filled world he left behind and of the racist misfit he once was.
In Hateland, O'Mahoney writes with unblinking honesty about the violence he inflicted upon others, and that which he was subjected to, during his time as a foot soldier of fascism. His frank analysis of his background, motivation and actions produces a disturbing self-portrait that offers a chilling but often darkly comic insight into many of the strange individuals who constitute Britain's fascist movement.
Gradually disillusioned and ashamed - partly as a result of his unexpected bonds he formed with blacks and Asian friends - O'Mahoney's decisive break with his Nazi past comes when he infiltrates and exposes the obsessively secretive British chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. This episode contains the mixture of grim farce, twisted fantasy and psychotic violence that Hateland lays bare as the hallmark of everything associated with Britain's Nazis.
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