The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America

Wyn Craig Wade, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-41476-4
This doggedly researched history of the American racist group is bloated with cliches, overstatements, colloquialisms, sensationalistic accounts of sexual atrocities and nonsensical connections (a detailed description of Grant's second inaugural ball that took place in an unheated building is followed by the observation that ""over the next four years, the Republican ardor for civil rights would cool''). Wade's historical insights are often inane, as when he discusses Grant's suspension of habeas corpus in implementing the Ku-Klux Act: ``Although it must be admitted that martial law is never pleasant, the effects of military occupation in South Carolina were far less dreadful than the picture anti-Reconstruction historians would popularize.'' And his psychological analyses are ludicrous: ``Klan attacks on scalawags often involved some kind of sexual abuse. . . . as if the behavior of the scalawags represented a form of infidelity to the South, and Klansmen gladly assumed the role of vengeful spouses.'' Wade is the author of The Titanic: End of a Dream. Photos not seen by PW. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
Paperback - 978-0-671-65723-9
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-19-512357-9
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