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Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK's Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930 (Culture America) Hardcover – September 20, 2011


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Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK's Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930 (Culture America) + One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s + Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan, 3rd ed.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; First Edition edition (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700617922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700617920
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"But Baker seems closer to the mark when she says that there's a dark strain of bigotry and exclusion running through the national experience. Sometimes it seems to weaken. And sometimes it spreads, as anyone who reads today's papers knows, fed by our fears and our hatreds."--The New York Times

"[A] brave new book. Baker has exposed something about American cultural history that many of us may not wish to see: namely, that both religion and mainstream society participate in the ugly, even violent, side of American nationalism"--Religion Nerd

"An important contribution to Klan scholarship that gives sustained attention to the centrality of Protestant Christianity in the construction of the movement's identity."--Rory McVeigh, author ofThe Rise of the Ku Klux Klan: Right-Wing Movements and National Politics

"[W]ell-written, persuasively argued book...Her suggestion that the Klan's intertwining of nationalism and religion makes it part of the lineage of the American Right is particularly provocative, and sure to stimulate some heated discussion. Highly recommended. -- S. McCloud, Choice

"While this book covers much familiar territory, it contains many original insights and evaluations that make it an important contribution to historical studies and deserving of a wide audience."--Al Menendez, Voice of Reason

From the Back Cover

"A splendid book--a major contribution to a rethinking of twentieth-century American religious history and to the history of American intolerance. Baker's compelling study places religion, specifically white Protestantism, squarely at the heart of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan in a way that no other author has done."--Paul Harvey, author of Freedom's Coming: Religious Culture and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Era

"An original and sobering work. In the present age, when we may no longer pretend that the lines between violent fanaticism and religious fervor are clearly discernible, this book makes a timely and urgent intervention. Hatred may have more to do with religion than we care to acknowledge."--David Morgan, author of Protestants and Pictures: Religion, Visual Culture, and the Age of American Mass Production

More About the Author

Kelly J. Baker is the author of Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK's Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930 (University Press of Kansas, 2011), The Zombies Are Coming! (Bondfire Books, 2013), and a forthcoming cultural history of zombies from the University of Washington Press.

She edits the Religion in American History blog, http://usreligion.blogspot.com, and blogs at www.kellyjbaker.com. She currently resides in Tallahassee, Florida, with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and a mean kitty.




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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Edward J. Blum on January 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding book that takes the religious worldview created by the 1920s Ku Klux Klan seriously. By investigating everything from how the Klan thought about the Bible and American history to the robes they wore and their considerations of masculinity and femininity, religious studies scholar Kelly Baker presents the KKK as a religious movement. It may not be a religious movement we like; it may not be one we agree with, but it created beliefs about race, nation, the Bible, Protestantism, and gender that were meaningful for its people. Anyone interested in religion and American culture should take a loko at this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. L. White on August 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Many books on the Klan and have dismissed them as a rednecked organization that intimidated poor, insecure Jewish and Catholic immigrants. Baker's work reopens the discussion with a look at how the Klan based its actions in religious beliefs of many well-educated, mainstream Americans. This text is a must-read for anyone looking for a well-researched and well-written book on the topic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Wagner on March 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A decidedly white Protestant (not liberal Protestant) organization strived to protect America from immigrants, Catholics, and other minorities while rewriting history to suit its needs. KKK demanded more God in public education and railed against religious schools, which did not meet its needs threshold and prided itself on good works. Also advocated were the protection of white women's virtue and growing youth into mature "real" Americans.
This book is somewhat of a slow read and specifically covers a brief time period. However, the final chapter "Passing the torch" makes it all worthwhile. Are surviving splinter groups still maintaining political power? Have the ideals of the twentieth century Klan been absorbed into various twenty-first century political and religious units? This is all interesting stuff, and I am not going to tell you the author's conclusion. You will have to buy the book and read for yourself. I just will say these few pages leave a great deal to think about.
Readers may also be interested in "Citizen Klansman" by Leonard Joseph Moore and "Klansville, U.S.A." by David Cunningham.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful By B. Bootheel on September 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kelly J. Baker is a college professor and this book seems to be an attempt to appease her academic cohorts with liberal platitudes and unkind judgments on an "unsavory" group of people. On page 31 she states her aspirations for the book: “I attempt to re-create the religious lives of dead Klansmen and Klanswomen….To see through the eyes of members and leaders clarifies their understanding of religion, nation, race, and gender.” Lofty goals indeed, but Baker limits her primary research to printed issues of THE KOURIER. This flaw is poor methodology as THE KOURIER was not read by most of the rank-and-file members. Also, she approached the subject with rigid pre-conceived ideas and only sought printed materials that agreed with her prejudices. For instance, Baker ignores, either by choice or ignorance, Bishop Alma White’s: THE KKK IN PROPHECY, and the vast number of Klan historical articles in newspapers and journals of Alabama and Tennessee . Most Klansmen were members of a Baptist, Methodist, or Presbyterian church. That is the source of their beliefs, not via the printed mail.

Hooded Klan ambassadors visited local churches, donated offerings, and even cut wood for widows and orphans (black and white). Klan leaders strengthened members’ beliefs by using Christian motifs such as the cross, prayers, public naturalizations in their meetings and events. The Klan ritual and meaningful emblems were important to Klan members in the 1920’s for they faced a dramatically changing America: the move from rural to urban society, from agricultural to industrial economy, challenges to traditional religion from modernism and social gospel, and new waves of immigrants from eastern and southern Europe.
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