They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartol

July 30, 2012
By Jaret123 BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
Jaret123 BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments

"Boys, let us get up a club." With those seven words, six eager young men went through the linens at a friend’s mansion in 1866. They pulled the white sheets over their heads, jumped on their horses, and went through the streets of Pulaski, Tennessee. Soon, the six friends named their club the Ku Klux Klan and began designing their initiations, with passwords and complicated handshakes. All too quickly, this club would grow into the self-proclaimed “Invisible Empire,” with secret dens spread across the South. On their brutal raids, the nightriders would claim to be ghosts of Confederate soldiers and would use psychological and physical terror against former slaves who dared to vote, own land, attend school, or worship as they pleased.

This is the story of how the Ku Klux Klan dared to test the rights of people and the United States of America’s democracy. They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, is a good glance at the making of the Ku Klux Klan after the American Civil War and their wrong doings. This much needed look at the KKK, started by former Confederate soldiers, this should be a must read for all Americans because it is such a big part of our history.

The author Susan Campbell Bartoletti uses extensive research and good sources. The use of actual people and their experiences brings the story to life. So does Bartoletti's captions for newspaper illustrations and photographs, providing a different kind of information. The information is well organized and is told in a narrative format. Bartoletti also includes photographs form her travels and experiences in the South. During the novel, she recommends a big variety of sources and perspective. She says in the book that she attended a Klan Congress and that was very shocking to me. I was personally shocked by the similarity of some views and also the difference some of the remarks by former Confederates, Klansmen, and Southerners. The Ku Klux Klan needs to be studied, along with topics like the treatment of Native Americans and the Holocaust because they all have the same concept of treating people in ways that they shouldn’t be treated.
They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group should be in every middle school & high school in America and be used by English and History teachers across the country. For history students, teachers, & those interested in American history, the Civil War, and justice this is a great book on the formation of the KKK.

The author's comments:
School project

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This article has 1 comment.

Hibby BRONZE said...
on Aug. 24 2012 at 3:26 pm
Hibby BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
Great review! I really liked your summary of how they started. I'm interested in this book now.


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