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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


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