Clansman, An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan, The by Thomas Dixon, Jr. (1864 - 1946)

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The second book in a trilogy of the Reconstruction era - The Leopard's Spots (1902), The Clansman (1905), and The Traitor (1907), this novel was the basis for the 1915 silent movie classic, "The Birth Of A Nation". Within a fictional story, it records Dixon's understanding of the origins of the first Ku Klux Klan (his uncle was a Grand Titan during Dixon's childhood), recounting why white southerners' began staging vigilante responses to the savage personal insults, political injustices and social cruelties heaped upon them during Reconstruction. Still considered dangerous "propaganda" encouraging segregation, white unity, and white supremacy, this incendiary novel nevertheless sheds light on the social conditions and the mindset of many Americans (North and South) during that period, and its influence on subsequent southern authors from Margaret Mitchell (Gone With The Wind) to Faulkner, Allen Tate, Robert Penn, and others, was significant. (Michele Fry)

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