Behind the Mask of Chivaly

1383 Words6 Pages
The novel written by Nancy Mclean “Behind the Mask of Chivalry” is based upon the history of the second KKK in the post-World War I era of the 1920’s, specifically in Athens, GA. Mclean writes about the many different levels of the Klan and how they played a key role in the south both politically and socially with their main focus on gender issues, the sexual revolution, and labor disputes. When one first thinks of the KKK they would imagine a brutal uneducated group of secretive racists with no mind for the law, however Nancy Mclean writes of much more. Although the KKK throughout the country were obsessively secretive by nature Mclean was lucky enough in having access to the records of the chapter located in Athens, GA. Part 1 of the book provides the historical information for the resurgence of the Klan by describing the economic and social conditions that were present after WWI, including the accelerated expectation for different races and genders. Part 2 explains the principles of the Klan and how members both interpreted and manipulated divisions among race, gender, and class. Including also how they employed terror tactics to enforce those interpretations. Part 3 is McLean’s interpretation of the Klan and why it rose, why it fell, and how it copied similar movements of class anger in Europe. Mclean wrote that the KKK was an organization of individual American citizens with jobs, incomes, and families not to different from most citizens. However, different from most citizens the KKK was very radical and confronted most too all their problems with violence. Part 1 of the book details the Klan and their view of the changing workplace. The Klan’s view towards African Americans was unreal and irrational to say the least. Mclean explains in the text how the Klan believed that African Americans were symbols of “the propertyless population” who threatened to

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