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The Clansman

Thomas Dixon

Book Overview: 

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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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e surging crowds before the sweeter creative wonder silently growing in his soul.

“And yet,” she faltered, “when I think of what all this means for our people at home—their sorrow and poverty and ruin—you know it makes me faint.”

Phil’s hand timidly sought the soft one resting on his arm and touched it reverently.

“Believe me, Miss Margaret, it will be all for the best in the end. The South will yet rise to a nobler life than she has ever lived in the past. This is her victory as well as ours.”

“I wish I could think so,” she answered.

They passed the City Hall and saw across its front, in giant letters of fire thirty feet deep, the words: 67

“UNION, SHERMAN, AND GRANT”

On Pennsylvania Avenue the hotels and stores had hung every window, awning, cornice, and swaying tree-top with lanterns. The grand avenue was bridged by tri-coloured balloons f. . . Read More

Community Reviews

One of my first, and still favorite, silent films is The Birth of a Nation, and I read this book for HS Freshman English class after I saw the movie. My enthusiasm for silent movies probably went way over those kids' heads and they no doubt thought me an out-and-out racist. Hah.

Just as the movie...more

awesome

July 10, 2013
A review by Anthony T. Riggio of The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan by Thomas Dixon Jr.

This is an historical novel by a Southerner attempting to justify the need and rise of the Klu Klux Clan written in 1905, forty years after the Civil War. His story revolves ar...more

A must read.

(For the actual review, scroll down (it's clearly marked). I indulge myself with some family flim-flam and general history for a few paragraphs first, though it's all tangentially related to the book).

It took three days shy of two years, but I finally finished this. The reason it took so long is...more

The author of this book lived through the post-Civil War Reconstruction period in the south. Laying aside his personal hatred and profound contempt for blacks (if that's possible, as the book is full of it)a few things stood out for me. One was the extent to which, back in those days, women truly...more

America is under Negro reign, violence and chaos is everywhere. No one respects law & order anymore. The streets aren't safe for white women and white men can no longer support their families. The country needs a savior. It needs strong Aryan men who love their country and will fight to make...more

Surprisingly, this wasn't a bad book (You don't have to agree with the sentiment to think a book is decently written). Dixon calls this a "historical romance of the Ku Klux Klan," and it definitely is written as a romance, with very flowery language and dialogue at times that is almost phony. The...more

I'm a film buff, so when I found out that D.W. Griffith's controversial The Birth of a Nation was based on Thomas Dixon Jr.'s novel The Clansman, the novel became a must-read for me.

The book and movie together are credited with a rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, including in northern states like my p...more

This controversial novel by Thomas Dixon, written in 1905, tells a story of how a man, a county, a state and ultimately the southern people fought back against the North during the period of reconstruction. Following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the North installs puppet "negro governmen...more

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