HOODED AMERICANISM by David M. Chalmers

HOODED AMERICANISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There are two historical studies of the Ku Klux Klan due for publication in early April. Neither one is exhaustive enough in its sociological treatment of hate, vigilanteeism, or fraternalism in the American character to be of general interest, but Mr. Chalmers' work remains superior certainly to William Randel's The Ku Klux Klan in scholarship, extensiveness and readability. Chalmers traces the development of the Invisible Empire from the Reconstruction Klan, founded as a secret, night riding organization to keep the Negro in the field and the virtue in the South, to its reflorescence after World War I, due in a large extent to D.W. Griffith's glorifying Birth of a Nation right up through the Goldwater-Johnson campaign. He divides Hooded Americanism into significant eras and treats each state by state. The failures of the Klan are attributed to inept, dictatorial leadership and negative, defensive appeal. The KKK will survive, Mr. Chalmers claims, because ""the stuff of which Klansman are made is a part of American society."" It is unfortunate that the ""stuff"" is not more generally analyzed. This could have been a definitive work.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1965
Publisher: Doubleday