Pros: Great book for those not very familiar with the early 1920s in America
Cons: The historical context can make it boring for those familiar with the 1920s in America
The Bottom Line: Great for those new to studying the 1920s, but for those familiar with the historical context of the 1920s they will only enjoy if the Klan really interests them.
In Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of Second Ku Klux Klan, Nancy MacLean's main theme is the Ku Klux Klan's goal of maintaining the old social order. She gives an in depth look at the historical context and how it affected what the Klan saw as threats and what they focused on. If you are at all familiar with this time period, early 20th century especially early 1920s, than you may find large portions of this relatively short work entirely useless, as the context is not exactly uniquely presented. This definitely is still a good book for someone who is looking at this time period and/or the Ku Klux Klan for the first time because of this historical context, though.
The main threats to the social order as seen by the Ku Klux and described in this book are the threats to white, male, Protestant, native born supremacy. As can be expected with this topic the threat of other races, in particular the African Americans, is the threat most discussed in this book. The author also does a good job of discussing the perceived threats of Judaism and women to the social order, while the threats of Catholicism and immigrants are barely touched upon, however they are mentioned and leave you wondering about them.
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