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The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America Reprint Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195123579
ISBN-10: 0195123573
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This doggedly researched history of the American racist group is bloated with cliches, overstatements, colloquialisms, sensationalistic accounts of sexual atrocities and nonsensical connections (a detailed description of Grant's second inaugural ball that took place in an unheated building is followed by the observation that "over the next four years, the Republican ardor for civil rights would cool"). Wade's historical insights are often inane, as when he discusses Grant's suspension of habeas corpus in implementing the Ku-Klux Act: "Although it must be admitted that martial law is never pleasant, the effects of military occupation in South Carolina were far less dreadful than the picture anti-Reconstruction historians would popularize." And his psychological analyses are ludicrous: "Klan attacks on scalawags often involved some kind of sexual abuse. . . . as if the behavior of the scalawags represented a form of infidelity to the South, and Klansmen gladly assumed the role of vengeful spouses." Wade is the author of The Titanic: End of a Dream. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Wade's journalistic approach brings alive the hydra-headed Klan: from its 19th-century Southern origins; to its 20th-century celebration in film; to its 1915-20s national emergence as a small-town, rural mix of narrow-mindedness, prejudice, and violence against blacks, Catholics, and Jews; to its increasingly anti-Communist poses since the New Deal; to its most recent incarnation in such varied and conflicting types as the "intellectual" David Duke and the paramilitary Bill Wilkinson. Although more descriptive than analytical, Wade's book shows how the Klan has assumed various guises over time, and how recent groups have lapsed back into the anarchy that prevailed in the KKK's infancy. Wade discovers the Klan as a singularly American beast, created by the very democratic ideals it mocks and inverts. Recommended for public and university libraries.Randall M. Miller, History Dept., St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (November 19, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195123573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195123579
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.3 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Weaver on June 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I believe that the other reviewers are being a little harsh. I have surveyed a good deal of the Klan literature, and found this book actually "fairly" good in comparison. Do I think that it is unbiased or totally accurate? - NO. But it is better than most current academic research, which when dealing with a topic such as this goes out of its way to condemn the Klan. From the standpoint of organizational history, this book is the best that I have come across. Wade's social analysis is suspect however. I do recommend it however, for anyone interested in the internal power struggles and organizational history of the Klan. The Klan literature which Wade includes is also fascinating.
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Format: Paperback
In this book Wyn Wade has given us a very good overview but not an extremely detailed look at the Ku Klux Klan. That is not to say that he has not done his research for he has found lots of material. The simple fact is that a book of this length cannot possibly cover the subject in any great depth. That would require a book at least twice this long, and probably three times as long. This book was obviously not intended to be a Shelby Foote type narrative of the Klan, but the basic survey that it is.
Wade has done a good job with the post reconstruction Klan, but he tends to take revisionist history a bit too far. One thing that puzzles me is that he refers to Tennessee as the, "the only border state" that left the Union. Many historians refer to the Volunteer State as a border state even though it was surrounded by slave states on all sides, so I can let that part of the statement slide. I have never however heard of Tennessee referred to as a border state without at least Virginia and Arkansas also receiving that label. It's not a big thing I realize, but it did bug me.
After reconstruction, Wade takes the reader to the history of D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation", the movie that made the rebirth and rise of the post World War I Klan possible. Then he traces the new Klan through its phenomenal growth to its demise. Wade then moves on to the Cold War anti-Communist Klan, the Civil Rights era Klan, the David Duke Klan, and today's Aryan crowd. He does a fine job of bringing out the personalities of various Klan leaders and giving the lowdown on various politicians who, while not Klansmen themselves, were more than happy to court Klan support. He also does an outstanding job of telling the story of Klan violence, with special attention to the victims.
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By N. Perz on January 28, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When deciding whether to buy this book, you should know: (1) this is not a scholarly work; the author is (was?) a psychologist, and; (2) the work is a partial survey of a very large topic. There is no way anyone could tackle the ambitious project of "the Ku Klux Klan" in America" in a mere 400 pages. Lastly, (3) there is no real analysis; it's descriptive and anecdotal.

That being said, I thought there were some very good parts. The discussion of the film "The Birth of a Nation" and Ku-Klux Act were particularly interesting. The claim that the author is "biased" is foolish; that's like criticizing a history of WWII because it doesn't give pro-Nazi perspective.

A good primer for anyone with a general interest in the KKK, Reconstruction, to this period of American History generally.

Recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America" is a 1987 United States History/Social Science book by the late historian and clinical psychologist, Wyn Craig Wade, who also wrote "The Titanic: End of A Dream".

I decided to read "The Fiery Cross" because I have been intrigued by the KKK my whole life. I regrettably lived in a city full of intolerance. A large Klaven was located just a few towns away. I always find them to be equally mysterious and villainess, and have been compelled to study them my whole life.

Doctor Wade examines the origins of the creation of the Invisible Empire and how it started off being a group of young men pulling pranks, to evolving into terrorists harassing, beating and murdering black people. From there, the Hooded Knights went to being loved in the popular press after the release of the motion picture, "The Birth of a Nation". This lead to European-Americans cheering the Klan on in the film and even dressing up as Klansmen for Halloween.

Finally, the author looks at the Sheeted Order's major decline, which in due time made it into a shadow of it's former self, but as dangerous as ever and still filled with the same kind of narrow-minded human beings.

The book shows how leaders of the Hooded Order for generations and from all over the United States were able to manipulate poor, insecure, bored, lazy and uneducated Caucasians to fork over what little cash they had to join this so-called "sacred" organization called the Ku Klux Klan.

Just being fair-skinned in the U.S.A. was enough for illiterate Aryans to be told by the law, pop-culture and the mainstream media that they were superior to African-Americans.
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