THE KU KLUX KLAN IN THE SOUTHWEST by Charles C. Alexander

THE KU KLUX KLAN IN THE SOUTHWEST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Ku Klux Klan is not a single phenomenon. It is three different organizations, which sprang up three different times, for three different reasons. Charles Alexander focuses this study -- and it's a good one-on the middle Klan, the so-called Invisible Empire extending from 1915 to 1944, flourishing in the mid-twenties with a membership estimated at 5 million, at one time or another dominating to some degree politically every city in the Southwest. The states the author concentrates on are Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. His thesis: that it was not nativism nor racism that constituted the overwhelming appeal of the Klan, but moral authoritarianism, Fundamentalism outraged over the specter of a challenging liberal Protestantism as well as a threatening Roman Catholicism, shocked by the abrupt disintegration of Victorian mores. There are inevitable redundancies here for one who has read the two other books recently published about Klanism in America. It can be said though that Alexander's book is up with the best of them and that he makes good sense of the highly complex issues of the 1924 presidential primaries, when the Klan helped shape both Democratic platform and the way in which the Democrats nominated a President. A forthright and definitive account, to be read along with David Chalmers recent Hooded Americanism (p. 220) for the complete national picture.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1965
Publisher: Univ. of Kentucky Press