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

2.59  ·  Rating details ·  204 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Paperback, 404 pages
Published July 2nd 2008 by Kirk Press (first published 1905)
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Apr 29, 2008 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
Nov 04, 2012 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
Shelves: 2015, civil-war
(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 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 belong to my great-grandfather. I stumbled upon it as mama and I were purging her extens
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
Jan 09, 2016 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
Matthew Hunter
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 parent's home of Indiana. The Northern Indiana Center for History reports that by 1924, less than 20 years after The Clansman's publication, Klan membership reached 30% of the state's white adult male pop
You can't The Clansman. You can't apply the perfectly lovely star system provided by Goodreads that indicates your pleasure taken, your appreciation of the literary craft. The Clansman has craft and provides intrigue but...dude, it's a story of how necessary it was to organize the Ku Klux Klan to keep post-Civil War white folks from being brutalized by bitter Northern conquerors and their black lackeys.

The Klan are the good guys in this story. What are we supposed to do with THIS?
Alexis Chateau
Aug 19, 2013 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
Mar 26, 2008 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 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.
Richard Epstein
Oct 14, 2014 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.
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 events were often overly melodramatic, too. That said, it was a page-turner for me. Flowery and melodramatic, yes, but decent story.

As I read the opening sections of this, I was surprised Dixon made Lin
Jul 15, 2013 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
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
Bubba Frank II
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aug 18, 2010 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 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.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this for an American Lit class. If you can get past the hyperbole, the awful love story, and the effusive flattering of Southern pride without falling into a diabetic coma, consider yourself lucky. With Dixon blending facts and fiction to create some "Alternative Facts", it's easy to see how he could jedi mind trick some people into believing this drivel. He uses some patterns in writing that persuasive speech writers use. Thanks to critical reading skills and half a brain, I can s ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grand Wizardly Propaganda

This is an action packed book full of mean, evil, vile, and satanic descriptions of black Americans in an attempt, which it does very well, to glorify and justify the existence of the KKK.
Well, I read this book from the bestsellers list for 1905 in order to get some sense of how Americans were thinking at the turn of the last century, and all I can say is, "I'm glad that's over with."
Nov 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If I didn't have to read it for class I wouldn't have continued. The most racist piece of garbage I've ever read.
Jan 13, 2015 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
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 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
Dean Muscat
Nov 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I was actually surprised, I enjoyed the first 1/2 or 2/3 of the book, it was very much the polictical views of a disgruntled southerner, it was nice to hear their viewpoint and try to see things from their point of view, the only times you really hear it from them it is coming from some fat redneck in a hood or someone opposed to their viewpoint telling us why the Southerners are wrong.

The problem started in the second half of the book when the black characters came into it and were given the fr
Elaine Gullotta
Apr 29, 2015 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american
I only read this for the historical perspective. It was just as I expected. The writing wasn't engaging or sophisticated. It didn't stretch the imagination or provide anything significant. It basically rationalized the development of the KKK which only an irrational person would find convincing. I also read Mein Kampf with the same purpose in mind. I think it's important to discover the thought process that promotes racist beliefs in order to be able to argue against these dangerous groups.
Jul 31, 2015 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!!!
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Thomas Frederick Dixon Jr. was a Southern Baptist minister, playwright, lecturer, North Carolina state legislator, lawyer, and author.

More about Thomas Dixon Jr.

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