Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.
One does not love breathing.
~ Harper Lee ~
Sunday, March 6, 2011
They Call Themselves the KKK
They Call Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
Susan Campbell Bartoletti
I read this because it was part of School Library Journal's Battle of the Books. It covers the K.K.K. from its birth around the end of the Civil War until the end of Reconstruction, when (at least outwardly) Klan activities diminished, only to return in the early 20th century.
Bartoletti does an excellent job of showing the horrors of the early Klan and explaining how both the whites and the blacks felt intimidated by each other. Complete social change is difficult, and Reconstruction's effort to create equality for all ultimately fails.
I found this book to be fascinating. It is difficult to read in some spots, because Bartoletti doesn't pull any punches when it comes to relating the horrors of the acts committed by the Klan. I really appreciated her use of primary source accounts of both African-Americans and Klansmen.
Is this a book for everyone? Probably not. It is definitely of interest to those of us who live in the South, but I"m not sure how much relevance it would have to people from other regions of the United States (I'd love to know other's opinions about that)