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White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction Paperback – April, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The book will long be essential reading for serious students of all aspects of Reconstruction..." -- Choice --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

Trelease's thesis that the Klan was a white supremist reaction to real and growing black power is well documented and the style is lively. The book will long be essential reading for serious students of all aspects of Reconstruction and those with a general interest in southern history. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 557 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807119539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807119532
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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33 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Trelease makes a monumental effort to describe the Reconstruction-era Klan from his temporal location in 1970. This academic work is invaluable in that it is the best and only source of all major Klan activity from the end of the War for Southern Independence to the end of Radical Reconstruction--Trelease follows the Klan chronologically, focusing on hotbeds of activity in all regions of the South. This is important because different motivations and activities defined each local incidence of Klan activity. Sadly, Trelease fails to take advantage of his unique position, in which he could have written a scholarly, enlightening portrait of the many facets of Klan activities and Klan members. Instead, predictably, Trelease resorts to seeking out examples that support his own cries of conspiracy and terrorism. He gives no credence to stories of the defensive nature of the Reconstruction Klan, choosing to argue that the Klan was a terrorist organization seeking white supremacy, a conspiracy penetrating all aspects of white society to the point of subverting local justice. White violence, he asserts, was racially motivated, usually carried out by mobs, and almost always directed against blacks. He dismisses out of hand such motivating factors as illegal moonshining and Democratic-Republican political differences among whites and gives short shrift to cases of white-on-white violence. He relies heavily on the KKK Congressional Report and testimony of 1871 and on legislative acts dealing with the Klan, often failing to place these "facts" within the true social context of their origins.Read more ›
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By GHT on August 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Trelease goes into great detail about the history of the KKK in the immediate post-Civil War period. The organization of the book is difficult (my reason for the 4 stars, it is mindnumbing in many parts, even for a research piece), since he goes state by state, year by year, and his facts are voluminous. But this is a well-researched book.
Trelease shows how returning Confederates, having lost the battlefield war, almost immediately began a war of terror. The KKK became the terror arm of the Democratic Party, and was the primary force in restoring 'white supremacy' throughout the south. He details the origins of the Klan (and its local variants) and its rapid descent into a force for hate and terror, and its widespread acceptance throughout the south.
The Klan's war against the Republican occupation was inextricably tied to the race question, and 'white supremacy' (and the concommitant fear of black equality) was the 'bloody shirt' the Klan waved to become the major force in southern politics in the post-war period.
The Klan was so successful that it can be argued the south 'won' the war - ending Reconstruction and federal occupation - restoring and insuring white domination for another 100 years - reducing the black freedmen to second-class citizenship politically, economically, and socially - reinventing slavery as apartheid and "Jim Crow".
One of the principal activities of the early Klan was forcibly disarming Negros, always by using overwhelming mob force, many times in the middle of the night. Intimidating black voters into voting Democrat or not voting was another main activity - this was done by whippings, beatings, and lynchings.
One hears much about the valor of the rebel soldier and the nobility of the "Lost Cause".
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TONI SEPAUGH on July 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
HISTORY OF FAMILY WAS IN THIS BOOK,WAS INTRESTING TO LEARN OF THE PAST,THE CHANGES WERE BOTH GOOD AN BAD. THANKS
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1 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Betty Burks on June 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
During reconstruction after the Civil War, when people from up North were flocking to the South to take what they could get, this group was formed to protect the landowners and the released black men from losing all they had worked for. It was James Brown, a local politician in Pulaski, who explained to me that it was not an evil group then and they helped all Southerners from the carpetbaggers. There was an informative (and true) report of how and why this group was formed and what they did; it was composed by the editor and his wife of the Pulaski Citizen.

Cas Walker wrote a factual account of another group similar to this one called 'White Caps and Blue Gills' based on happenings in and around Sevier County where some of my ancestors lived and died. It was worse than that from Middle Tennessee in that they targeted single women with children to run out of town. A distant cousin of my father's was ambushed as he aided one such woman and was killed. This is locally printed but there is a new edition out now available at Long's Drug Store. It makes for interesting reading.
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