“Riveting, inspiring, at times hard to believe but utterly true…it gives some measure of hope in these rancorous times.” (John Grisham)
How a bomb-making white supremacist, once called “the most dangerous man in Mississippi,” met Jesus in prison and emerged a committed advocate for Christian discipleship, peace, and racial justice.
As an ordinary high school student in the 1960s, Tom Tarrants became deeply unsettled by the social upheaval of the era. In response, he turned for answers to extremist ideology and was soon utterly radicalized. Before long, he became involved in the reign of terror spread by Mississippi’s dreaded White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, described by the FBI as the most violent right wing terrorist organization in America.
In 1969, while attempting to bomb the home of a Jewish leader in Meridian, Mississippi, Tom was ambushed by law enforcement and shot multiple times during a high-speed chase. Nearly dead from his wounds, he was arrested and sentenced to 30 years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman Farm. Unrepentant, Tom and two other inmates made a daring escape from Parchman yet were tracked down by an FBI SWAT team and apprehended in hail of bullets that killed one of the convicts. Tom spent the next three years alone in a six-foot-by-nine-foot cell. There he began a search for truth that led him to the Bible and a reading of the gospels, resulting in his conversion to Jesus Christ and liberation from the grip of racial hatred and violence.
Astounded by the change in Tom, many of the very people who worked to put him behind bars began advocating for his release. After serving eight years of a 35-year sentence, Tom left prison. He attended college, moved to Washington, DC, and became copastor of a racially mixed church. He went on to earn a doctorate and became the president of the C. S. Lewis Institute, where he devoted himself to helping others become wholehearted followers of Jesus.
A dramatic story of radical transformation, Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love demonstrates that hope is not lost even in the most tumultuous of times, even those similar to our own.