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The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan (The Reconstruction Trilogy #2)

2.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  150 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
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Published December 9th 2008 by ReadHowYouWant (first published 1905)
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Jul 12, 2008 Werner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not recommended --except to recycled paper dealers!
The good discussion one of my comments sparked about the misguided ways some writers treat the subject of rape brought to mind this piece of dreck, which I read back at a time when I had much more morbid curiosity in my reading tastes than I do now (obviously, I read an older edition). Dixon was a vile racist; in this novel, the Klan are portrayed as heroes, and virtually all of the black characters are depicted in a highly derogatory fashion --the one exception being a former slave who's presen ...more
Jan 14, 2016 Shaun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history students
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 governments" in the southern states by granting negroes suffrage. This leads to chaos as "Now a negro electorate controlled the city government, and gangs of drunken negroes, its sovereign citizens, paraded the s ...more
Jun 16, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Too complex, see review
Recommended to Jason by: Found original in great-granddaddy's things
(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 3 days shy of 2 years, but I finally finished this. The reason it took so long is not due to it being a bad book (just look at the rating I gave it), but because I have a 1907 version that used to to belong to my great-grandfather. I stumbled upon it as mama and I were purging her extensive
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 is a rip-roaring melodrama with an overall atrocious sentiment, so is the novel. It really is a perfect book to get into the mindset of the die-hard Lost Cause movement that got a major shot in the arm w
Richard Epstein
Oct 14, 2014 Richard Epstein rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If it weren't for Thomas Dixon, Jr., Josh wouldn't have to keep teaching "Birth of a Nation." We were not spared even by Dixon's passing through the opal gates of death.
Alexis Chateau
Mar 29, 2016 Alexis Chateau rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Racist. Boring. And rambling.

From this book I learned that vengeance is only acceptable when a White man on a horse carries it out. For a "flat footed Black hooligan" to carry it out against men who enslaved him for years is just wrong.

I've read a lot of other books written by Caucasians in this era and never came across anything like this. Memorable read, but not for the right reasons.
Peyton Smith
May 13, 2008 Peyton Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The quintessential piece of Lost Cause propaganda. This novel is full of racial stereotypes and overt prejudices against "the North." The only thing that offers this book merit is that it stands as a perfect glimpse into the mind of a Southerner in the early 1900s... But, if you want that your time would be better spent reading Faulkner.
Aug 30, 2007 Thara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to read racist social history.
Chill out, I'm reading it for class.
Patricia Dietz
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 were the possessions of their male relatives to the point where their husbands, fathers or brothers would literally rather put a bullet through the woman's head than permit her to shame herself or the f ...more
Jul 16, 2013 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war, history, novels
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 around some of the truly unintended consequences of reconstruction, hijacked by vindictive Northern politicians and greedy profiteers.

Several reviewers brand the author a “vile racist” and a “White Suprema
Amy Griffith
This was a hard book to review. First of all, I feel I have to explain why I even decided to read a book about such a subject.

I finished Gone With the Wind not too long ago. As I expected, I enjoyed it greatly, but I also came away wanting to know more about Reconstruction. I realized that all of my history books growing up had just dedicated a paragraph or two to the subject, glossing over the definition of a carpet bagger and then moving on. Mitchell's book went into much more detail, ascribin
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As literature, this novel (the source of "The Birth of a Nation", the first feature-length motion picture) is laughably dated by its flowery romanticism. As history, its twisted adoration of the Klan, highly-colored and cynical condemnation of Northern abolitionism, and even fallen-hero worship of Abraham Lincoln as the would-be savior of the defeated south is execrable. But as social history (and part of "The Novel as American Social History" series from the University of Kentucky Press) it is ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Brandon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had to read this for a class, and of course I wasn't expecting it to be any good at all. The first half was actually somewhat entertaining. That is, it was very readable, and I wasn't bored really, and the racism wasn't so troublesome at that point. It then completely shit the bed by Part 3. The drawls of the black characters didn't even seem organic like in, say, Kate Chopin's Cajun stories, but were rather just flat-out awfully written, in that it was actually difficult to read, not even becau ...more
Elaine Gullotta
May 05, 2015 Elaine Gullotta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: researcher on political reformation before and after the killing of Lincoln
Recommended to Elaine by: got at
I picked up this book at an antique store because as I flipped through the pages it referred to Scottish lineage which I am interested in. It is was poorly written but interesting from a racist propaganda research perspective. I was unhappy to learn that "The Clan" or "Clansman" (as in white men in white sheets), actually comes from the Scottish term for families (like in the movie Braveheart). Yes, of course immigrants retained their Scottish familial pride and terminology in the south…it just ...more
Aug 21, 2010 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Without a doubt the worst book I've ever read. Had I not had to read this for a college course, I would have not been able to finish it. Absolutely atrocious.
Apr 29, 2009 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite all the controversy surrounding this book and the film, "Birth of A Nation," the Clansman is a great historcal read.
Bubba Frank II
Apr 07, 2009 Bubba Frank II rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read.
Dean Muscat
Some books you pick up knowing fully well that you aren't going to love or even like necessarily, however you know they will be insightful into understanding certain mindsets that have, for better or worse, shaped a part of history. So given its plot concerning the Ku Klux Klan and its unveiled message of the need to maintain racial segregation, I knew I was not going to enjoy The Clansman. It was meant to be a mere curiosity read as part of my MA dissertation. To a certain degree I have dealt w ...more
Dec 11, 2013 Joelichtenauer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aug 04, 2015 Larissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle just doesn't work: Historical Romance and the Ku Klux Klan, really seems odd to put those things in the same sentence!!!! The further you get into the book the worst it got for me! I hated the reaction of the white men over freed blacks having their revenge, like it was so wrong of them to be seeking some justice after so long suffering and being brutalised under slavery! How short the memory of the white man is when the tables are turned!!!

Pretty racist book this one!!!
Jim Booth
May 21, 2014 Jim Booth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"A controversial book even in its own time, Dixon's novel reflects two great Southern traditions: storytelling and demagoguery." - from my review

See the full review at - link at my Goodreads page. Thanks for stopping by! :-)
Sep 03, 2014 Tana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much what you would expect from an early 20th century text with the subtitle: "An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan."
Joshua Norman
Jul 06, 2015 Joshua Norman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A window into the misguided reconstruction social engineering policy promulgated by the Radical Republicans.
Dawn Wells
Very over the top book on racism, north vs south, powerless women and the birth of the KKK. Not worth even one star the author is not an interesting writer. Everything was so over dramatized in the book you couldn't become engaged with the story. What is amazing is the fact that there is still a KKK and though they don't represent as many as they take credit for there is a following of new believers. Will we ever move beyond the hate?
Nov 29, 2015 Jerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History lovers
Recommended to Jerry by: Found in antique shop
It was a tiring read, and much as I suspected for a book written just 40 years after the Civil War.
I realize the subject matter of this book will anger me, but I suspect it's one of the most accurate depictions of the extremely violent racism of the south that prompted the formation of the KKK. For that reason I would like to read it and become a bit better informed.
Jun 03, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-reading
Read for Race in the 19th Century class. The political stuff was strangely more maudlin than the romantic plotline. The writing is basically the equivalent of a modern-day bestseller, but with a whole lot of racist propaganda behind it.
Apr 07, 2013 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, delaware, 5-star
The birth of a nation, end of civil war, reconstuction of south or distruction of same. Listen, this is a novel, ok, a very well written novel. Thomas Dixon knows how to write or knew i guess i should say.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carly Johnson
Aug 05, 2011 Carly Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Crow era. Very, very intense read.
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This is the white supremacist novelist.
More about Thomas Dixon Jr....

Other Books in the Series

The Reconstruction Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Leopard's Spots
  • The Traitor

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