Freedom’s Detective: The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan and the Man Who Masterminded America’s First War on Terror

Charles Lane. Hanover Square, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-335-00685-1
Lane (The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction) provides the definitive look at the federal government’s efforts to counter the threat posed by the KKK during Ulysses S. Grant’s presidency in this well-written and carefully researched account. When Grant entered the White House in 1869, hopes were raised that the Republican party platform of “equal rights, regardless of race or caste, for every man in every state” would extend to the South. But that agenda was violently opposed by the Klan, leading to the assassination of George Ashburn, a member of Georgia’s convention responsible for drafting a new constitution. Federal authorities dispatched Hiram Whitley, a veteran investigator, to Columbus, Ga., to crack the case, and he obtained evidence against 12 men, including a member of the U.S. Army. That achievement led to Whitley’s continuing to campaign against the Klan as the head of the Secret Service. Parallels between what Lane calls the first war on terror and the current one—both featured “military commissions, selective suspensions of habeas corpus, isolated interrogation centers, and torture against terrorists”—make clear why this lesser-known chapter in American law enforcement merits attention. American history buffs won’t want to miss this one. Agent: Scott Waxman, Waxman Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/11/2019
Release date: 04/09/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-335-04496-9
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