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Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  115 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews

On Thanksgiving night, 1915, a small band of hooded men gathered atop Stone Mountain, an imposing granite butte just outside Atlanta. With a flag fluttering in the wind beside them, a Bible open to the twelfth chapter of Romans, and a flaming cross to light the night sky above, William Joseph Simmons and his disciples proclaimed themselves the new Knights of the Ku Klux Kl

Kindle Edition, 327 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1994)
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Jan 02, 2012 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Klan historians, poli sci students, American history students
Recommended to Michael by: David Horowitz
Within studies of the 1920s KKK, there has recently been movement of "revisionism," which has questioned the assumptions of earlier writers that the Klan was primarily rural and Southern, has suggested that they were more concerned about curbing the power of Catholic immigrants than about blacks, and has even shown that the KKK was often involved in social reform rather than terrorism. Nancy MacLean, in responding to this academic trend, has been labeled a "re-revisionist" by some. She wrote thi ...more
Nancy MacLean’ Behind the Mask of Chivalry examines the Ku Klux Klan at its most insidious: the opening of the 1920s. Using its activity in Athens, Georgia, as a case study, she probes its tactics, its composition, its worldview, and its impact. She demonstrates that the Klan’s lingering horror stems not from its penchant for burning homes and whipping people, but that the most respectable castes of society could hide behind its robes. Viewing the Klan essentially as a reactionary, populist soci ...more
Sep 24, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Growing up, I mainly learned about racism and the Ku Klux Klan. Nancy MacLean's book went beyond the typical perception of the Klan and more into who the Klan was, why it grew in influence around the 1920s, along with the Klan members' motivations and goals. She used the term "reactionary populism" to describe the Klan's influence around the 1920s. (xiii) This "reactionary populism" was evident in the middle members of society who attached themselves to the Klan during a time of economic turbule ...more
Nilda Brooklyn
Sep 04, 2012 Nilda Brooklyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In our current political climate of racist anti-immigrant rhetoric and "birther" movements a historical understanding of the KKK is important. Also, as a young white woman, understanding the guise of protecting white female virtue as a tool for racial violence and domination gives a critical view on the contemporary debate of reproductive freedom and rape laws. While access to universal health care and freedom from sexual violence are human rights, U.S. legal structures around both issues have a ...more
Oct 04, 2009 Al is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am struggling to understand what make someone watch FOX News or follow Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, etc. only to wind up in complete opposition to the exact government policies that would benefit them the most. What makes approximately 1% of the US population vehemently opposed to the government looking out for their own best interests?

I've always chalked it up to them being united by their hate. Not overt, cross burning and lynching racism. But the subtle, insidious hatred of comfortable, middle
Sep 09, 2013 Kristi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
MacKlean argues that the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s was based in the politics of reactionary Populism: dedicated to white supremacy and conservative values. While MacKlean thus connects Klan activity to nationally entrenched political networks, much of her evidence and narrative is based in Athens Georgia. This disconnect rendered her argument less compelling and less convincing. However, while other scholars have argued for the unifying influence of white supremacy, a strength of Maclean's accou ...more
Aug 27, 2011 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The history of the making of the second Ku Klux Klan starting in 1915 is scary. MacLean tells the story grounded in a case study of Athens, Georgia. To see how their view of Protestant Christianity was bound up with their fears of a changing world and how they felt entitled to use violent vigilante means to control African-Americans, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and women is frightening. We still have strong strains of this worldview today.
May 07, 2016 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could be a bit of an eye-opener: Firstly, that the KKK, which now consists of smatterings of marginal types, was once a thriving organization with literally thousands of members; also, that said organization, which is generally depicted as consisting of low-rent backwoods yahoos, mainly sprang forth from the upper middle class (business owners, govt. officials, etc.). MacLean digs deep into what records there are of the times to bring forth a vivid history. Recommended.
Jul 29, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sex-gen, race
Intriguing discussion of the interrelation of racism and gender politics. Unfortunately there are some holes in the data the book is founded on (specifically, MacLean fails to account for the chronological changes of the Klan's popularity).
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