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08 August 2010 @ 02:55 pm
dark history  

I remember my introduction to the writing of Susan Campbell Bartoletti. It was a book called BLACK POTATOES. I recall thinking that there was no way this would be a book that interested me. Was I ever wrong? Thus, began my love affair with Bartoletti's incredible works of nonfiction. She draws me in as a reader and makes me immediately CARE about her subject matter. That is most certainly true with her lates: THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK (Houghton Miflin 2010). In her inimitable style, drawing upon the same techniques as those who write fiction, Bartoletti takes readers back to the very beginnings of the klan which derived its name (a redundant on e at that) from a Greek work that meant circle. Six men met in a law office in Tennessee to form the initial group, one mainly dedicated to creating mischief but which soon evolved to one of malice toward the newly freed slaves (and anyone who dared to speak up on their behalf or educate them or encourage them to vote, etc.). The story behind their rise and ultimately their decline is accessible and fascinating. Source notes, bibliographies, and a timeline make the end matter just as valuable and worthy of attention. <306>
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