THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Kirkus Star

THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK

The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

On a May evening in 1866, in Pulaski, Tenn., six men lounged about a law office. “Boys, let us get up a club or society,” John Lester said. And they did. Two of the men suggested that they call themselves “Kuklos,” the Greek word for “circle” or “band,” but that wasn’t mysterious enough, so they made up a variation: Ku Klux Klan, which literally means “circle circle.” They delighted in dressing up in flowing white robes, riding about town pretending to be ghosts of Confederate dead and playing pranks, but they also understood the power of anonymity to stir up fear and thwart the new Freedmen’s Bureau programs to help former slaves. Balancing the stories of the Klan and the former slaves’ determination to remake their lives, Bartoletti makes extensive use of congressional testimony, interviews, journals, diaries and slave narratives to allow the players to speak in their own voices as much as possible. Documentation is superb, and even the source notes are fascinating. An exemplar of history writing and a must for libraries and classrooms. (a note to the reader, time line, quote attributions, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-618-44033-7
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2010




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