While not connected with it in any way, this is a companion volume to the author's "epoch-making" story _The Leopard's Spots_. It is a novel with a great deal to it, and which very properly is going to interest many thousands of readers. (Later adapted to film by D.W. Griffith as The Birth of a Nation.)
It is, first of all, a forceful, dramatic, absorbing love story, with a sequence of events so surprising that one is prepared for the fact that much of it is founded on actual happenings; but Mr. Dixon has, as before, a deeper purpose--he has aimed to show that the original formers of the Ku Klux Klan were modern knights errant taking the only means at hand to right intolerable wrongs.
[Used as a recruiting tool for the Ku Klux Klan in the teens and twenties, it was also used by director D.W. Griffith as the basis for “The Birth of a Nation.”]
n his book.
The banjo had come to Washington with the negroes following the wake of the army. She had laid aside her guitar and learned to play all the stirring camp songs of the South. Her voice was low, soothing, and tender. It held every silent listener in a spell.
As she played and sang the songs the wounded man loved, her eyes lingered in pity on his sun-bronzed face, pinched and drawn with fever. He was sleeping the stupid sleep that gives no rest. She could count the irregular pounding of his heart in the throb of the big vein on his neck. His lips were dry and burnt, and the little boyish moustache curled upward from the row of white teeth as if scorched by the fiery breath.
He began to talk in flighty sentences, and she listened--his mother--his sister--and yes, she was sure as she bent nearer--a little sweetheart who lived next door. They all had sweethearts--these Southern boys. Again he was teasing his dog--and then back in battle.
At length he opened his eyes, great da
This will be a tough one to review fairly.
An important book as it inspired the famous motion picture "Birth of a Nation"by DW Griffith (which I haven't seen, so I can't comment on how similar they are).
The books feels spilt into two sections, the first being about Andrew Johnson's impeachment and the angry northern politicians planning revenge on the South for the Civil war. The second part details the former slaves taking advantage of the defeated south and being defeated by the Ku Klux Klan.
The word propaganda is going to be bandied about with this type of book. If you divorce it from its intentions and the racial implications, its still not a good book. it presents a view of the South that I don't know enough about to comment on. But it certainly does a good job of demonising Northern politicians who are trying to enforce equality (hypocritically, according to the author).
It often references Haiti to show the problems of black rulers and it fades out just before one of the characters is violated by a group of ex-slaves. Im sure it instigated anger in its target audience.
All in all, its probably a good book to read to get a feel for how a certain segment of people viewed certain events. just be prepared for some very uncomfortable descriptions of black people. Don't read it if that type of thing makes you uncomfortable.