Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226376158 Published November 2017
E-book $45.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226376295 Will Publish November 2017 Also Available From

Ku Klux Kulture

America and the Klan in the 1920s

Felix Harcourt

Ku Klux Kulture

Felix Harcourt

272 pages | 11 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226376158 Published November 2017
E-book $45.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226376295 Will Publish November 2017
In popular understanding, the Ku Klux Klan is a hateful white supremacist organization. In Ku Klux Kulture, Felix Harcourt argues that in the 1920s the self-proclaimed Invisible Empire had an even wider significance as a cultural movement.

Ku Klux Kulture reveals the extent to which the KKK participated in and penetrated popular American culture, reaching far beyond its paying membership to become part of modern American society. The Klan owned radio stations, newspapers, and sports teams, and its members created popular films, pulp novels, music, and more. Harcourt shows how the Klan’s racist and nativist ideology became subsumed in sunnier popular portrayals of heroic vigilantism. In the process he challenges prevailing depictions of the 1920s, which may be best understood not as the Jazz Age or the Age of Prohibition, but as the Age of the Klan. Ku Klux Kulture gives us an unsettling glimpse into the past, arguing that the Klan did not die so much as melt into America’s prevailing culture.
Review Quotes
Thomas R. Pegram | author of One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s
“In this detailed and impressively researched book, Harcourt demonstrates that the Ku Klux Klan was embedded in the popular culture of the 1920s, showing that the Klan absorbed and took part in distinctive aspects of American popular culture, including movies, music, print media, radio, and sports. The book clearly establishes the Klan’s presence in American popular culture during the 1920s, which in itself is an important contribution to the debates concerning the representativeness, relative modernity, and impact of the Klan on American life, despite its political failures. This is an important and original book in Klan historiography.”
Elaine Frantz | author of Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction
“This sobering and important book powerfully explains the relationship of Ku Klux Klan members and the broader ‘Klannish’ movement to the emergence of modern American culture in the 1920s. In a time when white supremacy was widespread and unapologetic, the Ku Klux Klan was enormously popular. Drawing on an impressive body of research, Harcourt shows us the remarkable extent to which the Klan became central to American culture of the day. Klan newspapers proliferated nationally and gained huge circulations. Klannish Americans played songs like ‘Onward Christian Klansman’ and ‘Daddy Swiped our Last Clean Sheet and Joined the Ku Klux Klan’ on their phonographs and radios; indeed, a Klan-controlled radio station became the fifth most powerful in the nation. Popular books catered to cultural fascination with the Klan. Major publishers nudged authors to take a pro-Klan tone, as readers cancelled subscriptions to publications critical of the Klan. Klan baseball teams and basketball teams were widespread, and sometimes sensationally competed against Catholic, Jewish, and African-American rivals. While Harcourt shows that many found the Klan profoundly un-American, it was very much present at the creation of, and influenced the shape of modern popular culture.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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