God’ll Cut You Down combines
an unlikely journalist, a murder case in Mississippi, and a fascinating
literary true crime story in the style of Jon Ronson.
A notorious white supremacist named Richard Barrett was
brutally murdered in Mississippi in 2010 by a young black man named Vincent
McGee. At first the murder seemed a twist on old Deep South race crimes. But
then new revelations and complications came to light. Maybe it was a dispute
over money rather than race—or, maybe and intriguingly, over sex.
John Safran, a young white Jewish Australian documentarian,
had been in Mississippi and interviewed Barrett for a film on race. When he
learned of Barrett’s murder, he returned to find out what happened and became
caught up in the twists and turns of the case. During his time in Mississippi,
Safran got deeper and deeper into this gothic southern world, becoming entwined
in the lives of those connected with the murder—white separatist frenemies,
black lawyers, police investigators, oddball neighbors, the stunned families,
even the killer himself. And the more he talked with them, the less simple the
crime—and the people involved—seemed to be. In the end, he discovered how
profoundly and indelibly complex the truth about someone’s life—and death—can
This is a brilliant, haunting, hilarious, unsettling story
about race, money, sex, and power in the modern American South from an
outsider’s point of view. Download and start listening now!