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A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's…
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A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them (urspr publ 2023; utgåvan 2023)

av Timothy Egan (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3851565,125 (4.36)13
"A historical thriller by the Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning author that tells the riveting story of the Klan's rise to power in the 1920s, the cunning con man who drove that rise, and the woman who stopped them. The Roaring Twenties -- the Jazz Age -- has been characterized as a time of Gatsby frivolity. But it was also the height of the uniquely American hate group, the Ku Klux Klan. Their domain was not the old Confederacy, but the Heartland and the West. They hated Blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants in equal measure, and took radical steps to keep these people from the American promise. And the man who set in motion their takeover of great swaths of America was a charismatic charlatan named D.C. Stephenson. Stephenson was a magnetic presence whose life story changed with every telling. Within two years of his arrival in Indiana, he'd become the Grand Dragon of the state and and the architect of the strategy that brought the group out of the shadows - their message endorsed from the pulpits of local churches, spread at family picnics and town celebrations. Judges, prosecutors, ministers, governors and senators across the country all proudly proclaimed their membership. But at the peak of his influence, it was a seemingly powerless woman - Madge Oberholtzer - who would reveal his secret cruelties, and whose deathbed testimony finally brought the Klan to their knees"--… (mer)
Medlem:fji65hj7
Titel:A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them
Författare:Timothy Egan (Författare)
Info:Viking (2023), 432 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:****
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them av Timothy Egan (2023)

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» Se även 13 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 15 (nästa | visa alla)
Garden City Book Club choice
Joey, Joe R, Jean, Ken, Bere, Ann, Len, and Jan at the Joeys’ condo.
The hate group hated Jews, Blacks, Catholics and immigrants. They were endorsed by ministers, judges, police, governors, and senators who threatened those who disagreed or who were among the hated. Madge Oberholtzer who was raped viciously and mistreated for days by the evil leader, DC Stevenson, afterwards gave the testimony on her deathbed which brought the empire down. ( )
  bereanna | Feb 20, 2024 |
Hands down, he best book I read in 2023

If this book were published ten years ago, many of us would have read it, thought it was good, and set it aside, gratefully thinking that it was good to live in a country where such things no longer happen. In light of recent events, though, the book’s impact is chilling.

The 1920s America that Timothy Egan describes sounds more like a fantasy akin to PKD’s [book:The Man in the High Castle|216363] than a serious work of American history, but it really happened, however much our parents and grandparents would like to pretend that it didn’t.

After World War One, a host of changes threatened to undermine the stability that many white Americans across the country believed they were entitled to. Immigrants from Europe were pouring into the country. Added to that, millions of black families were fleeing north to escape Jim Crow oppression in what would come to be called the Great Migration. Added to that, the whole world was changing. Women’s dresses and hairstyles were getting shorter and the music, well, enough about that. America needed someone who could stand up and defend good old white protestant family values. Enter the Ku Klux Klan. Crushed and outlawed by President Grant, the Klan reappeared in 1915 and quickly became a political powerhouse with membership as high as 6 million. The Klan boasted 15 senators in its ranks, as well as three governors (Oregon, Colorado & Indiana).

Much of the credit for the Klan’s rapid growth was attributed to a charismatic flim-flam artist from Texas, D.C. Stephenson, who settled in Indiana and realized early on “that he could make far more money from the renewable hate of everyday white people than he could ever make as an honest businessman or a member of Congress”. With that thought in mind, he joined the Klan and in no time at all was appointed Grand Dragon of the Indiana Klan. Soon, an estimated 400,000 Hoosiers were “induced to pay $10 for the privilege of hating their neighbors and wearing a sheet.” $4 out of every ten went straight into Stephenson’s pocket, along with a substantial profit from sheet sales. His political power was such that he hand-picked Klansman Ed Jackson to be elected governor. Jackson promised to appoint Stephenson to a soon-to-be-vacant senate seat but Stephenson set his sites even higher, on the White House. He often boasted “I am the law in Indiana,” and few doubted that it was true.

Then he met Marge Oberholzer, a bright, quick-witted and strong-willed young woman who was well-known and liked throughout Irvington. This meeting set off a tragic chain of events that led to one of Indiana’s most notorious murder trials and changed the lives and fortunes of millions.

What shocked me the most about this book is how much it reminded me of recent events. That anyone could boast that they would face no consequences for crimes they could or did commit tells me that they have no moral compass. Furthermore, to build one’s political power on hatred, bigotry and intolerance is unconscionable. Finally, when Stephenson said “He believed the trial was a hoax and a witch hunt. The only way they could bring down this giant of a man was…to entrap him,” I couldn’t help but think of someone else who has said the same thing, and that person actually did make it into the White House.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. W.E.B. Du Bois wrote that behind "the yelling, cruel-eyed demons who break, destroy, maim, lynch, and burn at the stake is a knot, large or small, of normal human beings, and these human beings at heart are desperately afraid of something." We all need to face our fears like civilized human beings and not cave in to the baser instincts that some would use to control us.



FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:
*5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
*4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is.
*3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered great or memorable.
*2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the writing style and the ending.
*1 Star – The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire. ( )
  Unkletom | Jan 17, 2024 |
This book was hard to put down and yet hard to read at times too because of the subject matter. It really hit home for me because Indianapolis is my hometown and I spent a great deal of time in Irvington where my dad's home is located. This is one of those stories that was NEVER taught to Indiana school children but should have been. All the cities around Indiana that Timothy Egan mentions are very well described and had not changed and writes a compelling story from start to finish. I was impressed that there were a handful of truly brave people who stood up against the KKK, risking their jobs, physical health and life. George Dale, a Muncie journalist was one but it took Madge Oberholtzer's death to finally bring D.C. Stephenson to justice. A heartbreaking and gripping story that needs to be told and taught in our schools and communities to this day. ( )
  John_Hughel | Dec 24, 2023 |
I never knew how popular the Klan was in the midwest in the early 1920s. This wasn't the same Klan that terrorized after the civil war. The 1920s Klan was not marketed as hate. People were encouraged to join because of Americanism and Christianity, and advocating for a return to moral values. Whole communities, law inforcement, city government, churches, and pastors were duped into believing that this was a good group of men. They even had women's auxilaries and the Ku Klux Kiddies for the children. In Indiana, the Klan basically controlled the whole state and had plans to take over the US government.

Thankfully the blinders on people's eyes started to fall off when the Grand Dragon of the KKK in Indiana was tried and convicted for rape and murder. Soon other leaders were convicted of crimes, and it became obvious that the Klan was not about wholesome Christian values but about rape, murder, and political corruption. Within three years, Klan membership in the US was down 90%.
“As the lights were turned on again, few would admit, even sheepishly, they ever had belonged to the Klan,” recalled Harold Feightner.

It is a scary part of history that isn't talked about. Because, obviously, if your grandparents were in the Klan, they certainly would have never admitted it. ( )
  galoma | Dec 11, 2023 |
This is basically the story of D.C. Stephenson, a white man who was instrumental in the rise and the fall of the Ku Klux Klan. I wasn't as pulled into this story as others by this author perhaps because the main character is so very unlikeable. Stephenson was a charismatic liar who was born into poverty but who learned to portray himself as educated, cultured and patriotic.

After a simering feud with the head of the national KKK, Stephenson found himself in Indiana where he built a strong organization of ordinary white people telling them of the dangers of racial differences, Catholics, Jews, and immigration. Stephenson managed to live in a huge mansion, hold big parties, and claim many major politicans as friends.

He was also extremely violent with women. Madge Oberholtzer was a young woman who feel into his circle. Claiming that he loved her, he had her abducted, and took her to Chicago where he raped, beat her, and bit her all over her body. She was so injured, that she took poison in an attempt at suicide She was delivered back to her home where she died. Stephenson was then charged with murder and against all odds, was convicted and spent most of the rest of his life in prison.

The story is one that I was not familiar with and there are aspects of Stephenson's narrative that sound too much like is heard in the news today. ( )
  maryreinert | Nov 25, 2023 |
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(Introduction) The most powerful man in Indiana stood next to the new governor at the Inaugural Ball, there to be thanked, applauded, and blessed for using the nation's oldest domestic terror group to gain control of a uniquely American state.
When white-sheeted nightriders first appeared in the dark Southern night, many people thought they were ghosts.
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"A historical thriller by the Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning author that tells the riveting story of the Klan's rise to power in the 1920s, the cunning con man who drove that rise, and the woman who stopped them. The Roaring Twenties -- the Jazz Age -- has been characterized as a time of Gatsby frivolity. But it was also the height of the uniquely American hate group, the Ku Klux Klan. Their domain was not the old Confederacy, but the Heartland and the West. They hated Blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants in equal measure, and took radical steps to keep these people from the American promise. And the man who set in motion their takeover of great swaths of America was a charismatic charlatan named D.C. Stephenson. Stephenson was a magnetic presence whose life story changed with every telling. Within two years of his arrival in Indiana, he'd become the Grand Dragon of the state and and the architect of the strategy that brought the group out of the shadows - their message endorsed from the pulpits of local churches, spread at family picnics and town celebrations. Judges, prosecutors, ministers, governors and senators across the country all proudly proclaimed their membership. But at the peak of his influence, it was a seemingly powerless woman - Madge Oberholtzer - who would reveal his secret cruelties, and whose deathbed testimony finally brought the Klan to their knees"--

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