Susan Campbell Bartoletti is an amazing writer. She is a master at culling down all the information on a specific subject and reporting this information to the reader in an attractive, easy-to-read format. Her book, Hitler Youth, contained information that was a revelation to me, yet I was not bogged down with heavy, hard-to-understand text. Her books also contain lots of images, photos, illustrations, and historical documents which add to the reading enjoyment and to understanding the text.
Her book, They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group, is her next masterpiece. Scrupulously researched, this short book carries a wallop. After reading it I understand the genesis of the terrorist group, The K.K.K. (Ku Klux Klan), and it's evolution. Six disgruntled young men, who didn't like what was happening in the South after the Civil War, said, "Boys, Let us get us a club." So began the secret terrorist group that took root in America.
The book is filled with chilling, and vivid personal account unearthed from old oral histories, congressional documents, and other primary resources, this is a book to read and remember. The idea for the book began when the author saw a statue commemorating Nathan Bedford Forrest, the infamous Confederate cavalry general who became known as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. "As I looked at the statue," writes Bartoletti, "I asked myself: Where are the statues commemorating the victims of Klan violence?" When she learned that no such statues existed, she turned to historical record poring over 8,000 pages of congressional testimony...2,300 Slave Narratives...and memoirs in order to uncover the lives of Klan victims. -From Book Jacket
The book is truly amazing, disturbing, but amazing. It is also very instructive. Americans today often look abroad at terrorist groups and act as if nothing like that could happen here. This books shows that not to be true. The K.K.K. operated very openly for over 100 years and terrorized not only African Americans, but also Jews, women, and homosexuals. It is disgusting the acts that they committed with a seeming lack of remorse.
For obvious reasons I do not recommend this as light reading, but if you are looking for information on this topic, or want to become more educated on US history this book is an excellent choice.