KLAN WAR: ULYSSES S. GRANT AND THE BATTLE TO SAVE RECONSTRUCTION
ABOUT THE BOOK
A stunning history of the first national anti-terrorist campaign waged on American soil—when Ulysses S. Grant wielded the power of the federal government to dismantle the KKK
The Ku Klux Klan, which celebrated historian Fergus Bordewich defines as “the first organized terrorist movement in American history,” rose from the ashes of the Civil War. At its peak in the early 1870s, the Klan boasted many tens of thousands of members, no small number of them landowners, lawmen, doctors, journalists, and churchmen, as well as future governors and congressmen. And their mission was to obliterate the muscular democratic power of newly emancipated Black Americans and their white allies, often by the most horrifying means imaginable.
To repel the virulent tidal wave of violence, President Ulysses S. Grant waged a two-term battle against both armed Southern enemies of Reconstruction and Northern politicians seduced by visions of postwar conciliation, testing the limits of the federal government in determining the extent of states’ rights. In this book, Bordewich transports us to the front lines, in the hamlets of the former Confederate States and in the marble corridors of Congress, reviving an unsung generation of grassroots Black leaders and key figures such as crusading Missouri senator Carl Schurz, who sacrificed the rights of Black Americans in the name of political “reform,” and the ruthless former slave trader and Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Klan War is a bold and bracing record of America’s past that reveals the bloody, Reconstruction-era roots of present-day battles to protect the ballot box and stamp out resurgent white supremacist ideologies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fergus M. Bordewich is the author of eight previous nonfiction books, including Congress at War: How Republican Reformers Fought the Civil War, Defied Lincoln, Ended Slavery, and Remade America; The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government (winner of the 2016 D.B. Hardeman Prize in American History); and America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise that Preserved the Union (named best history book of 2012 by the Los Angeles Times). He lives in Washington, DC with his wife.