Blood in the Soil: A True Tale of Racism, Sex, and Murder in the South Hardcover

  • Sinopsis
  • Book Details

Blood in the Soil is the first book about the investigation into the shooting of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and his country attorney in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 1978. But this book is not primarily about Larry Flynt, or even his shooter (the serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin), though both men are of course important characters in the story.

This true account is told alternately from the perspective of Detective J. Michael Cowart and by following Franklin’s life from childhood through his execution. The monster that was Joseph Paul Franklin was the result of a perfect storm of circumstances, which included poverty, cruel abuse as a child, the detestation and mistrust between blacks and whites, integration, and the hate groups that operated and recruited openly. Detective Cowart tells the story of his first introduction to Franklin, and the cat-and-mouse game that ensued. A self-proclaimed truth-seeker, the detective had to appear to befriend Franklin to get him to provide enough information to prosecute him in the Flynt shooting. In the course of developing this rapport, Cowart gains astonishing insight into many of Franklin’s other cold-blooded killings and crimes, and his twisted justification for them.

ASIN ‏ : ‎ 1634507517
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Skyhorse (April 12, 2016)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 232 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9781634507516
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1634507516
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 14.8 ounces
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches


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Townsend's book offers readers a lesson in letting hatred and racism lead one's life. It took me a while to get into the pacing of the story, but not long enough for me to step away from it. I found my interest grew deeper the more I read, and that's one powerful way to tell a story. All too often, true crime books move along fairly swiftly and then get all bogged down toward the end, often discussing the final court cases. This book strikes a perfect balance between all the elements that contribute to a memorable read with powerful, lasting messages.


What many may think of as 'just' an attempted murder over pornography, has a much more intricate and deeper past. The study of Joseph Paul Franklin and his upbringing, adulthood and twisted mentality is intriguing. I felt for the innocent victims spread throughout the US as Franklin went on his killing spree, as they were innocent to all but him. They were simply going along their daily business eating pizza, coming out of synagogue, jogging or simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time, the reasons for their murders unbeknownst to them. The way this book is written will transport you back in time, and maybe leave you looking over your shoulder.


I knew that Larry Flynt had been shot and paralyzed, but that's all I knew. I had never heard of Joseph Paul Franklin, despite the fact he murdered 20+ people and injured many more. The author puts the killings and shootings and bombings in context: Franklin's rotten childhood, Southern racial prejudice, poverty, the changing culture. It's an informative read that does a good job covering Franklin's life and execution. The one thing I wasn't crazy about is how the author repeats information from one chapter to the next. But overall, well worth a read.


A gripping read right from the beginning, I've only read the first few chapters, but I will say from the very beginning this book grabs you. I'm a major fan of crime dramas, and this is perfectly written by a fabulous read written by a very talented author. Job well done I would recommend this to anyone, this book could be huge and this author is fully on her way to the mainstream and big success.


Wow it starts with a bang transporting the reader to 1978. I felt like I was in the car with Joseph Paul Franklin. I would experience this feeling of being there throughout the book. Which would send a shiver down my spine at times. A great read.