"Who is an American?" asked the Ku Klux Klan. It is a question that echoes as loudly today as it did in the early twentieth century. But who really joined the Klan? Were they "hillbillies, the Great Unteachables" as one journalist put it? It would be comforting to think so, but how then did they become one of the most powerful political forces in our nation's history?
In The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland, renowned historian James H. Madison details the creation and reign of the infamous organization. Through the prism of their operations in Indiana and the Midwest, Madison explores the Klan's roots in respectable white protestant society. Convinced that America was heading in the wrong direction because of undesirable "un-American" elements, Klan members did not see themselves as bigoted racist extremists but as good Christian patriots joining proudly together in a righteous moral crusade.
The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland offers a detailed history of this powerful organization and examines how, through its use of intimidation, religious belief, and the ballot box, the ideals of Klan in the 1920s have on-going implications for America today.
1. The Klan Arrives
2. The Dangers to America
3. To Hell in a Handbasket
4. The Politics of Mediocrity
5. Stephenson Goes Down
6. The Klan's Enemies Step Up
7. The Klan Returns
8. The Klan is Dead
Bibliography: Learning More about the Ku Klux Klan
"Scholars and general readers alike will profit from distinguished Indiana historian James Madison's excellent account of the 1920s Klan and its troubled legacy in the Hoosier state. Grounded in thorough research and expressed in direct, vivid prose, The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland documents the Invisible Empire's impact on Indiana institutions and culture from state politics to small town life. Unsparing in his exposure of Klan bigotry, Madison also attempts to understand ordinary Klan members who believed themselves to be good citizens and kind-hearted neighbors. That paradox has informed changing perceptions of American identity and privilege over the past century."~Thomas R. Pegram, Loyola University Maryland, author of One Hundred Percent America: The Rebirth and Decline of the Klu Klux Klan in the 1920s.
""In examining the motivations and methods of the Ku Klux Klan, Madison's lively, accessible and all-too-timely account, explores how previous generations have grappled with the age-old question "who is an American?"; a question that continues to define and divide the nation today. Whether addressing politics, media, religion or basketball, this meticulously researched and expansive work brilliantly illustrates how, through the Klan, we can better understand American history today.""~Tom Rice, University of St Andrews, author of White Robes, Silver Screens: Movies and the Making of the Ku Klux Klan
""Our democracy demands that we open all the pages in the book of history," James Madison writes in this important study of the Klan in Indiana. In his reading of these pages, Madison counters many of the common myths surrounding the origin, power, and appeal of the Klan to Midwesterners in the 1920s. Madison's focus is on the robed men and women, neither naïve nor particularly duped by a charismatic leader, who belonged to the organization, and on the political turmoil surrounding prohibition, suffrage, economics, and religion that caused them to join. The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland sheds much-needed light on the un-read pages of our past that continue to reverberate into our present. "~Susan Neville, Butler University, author of Indiana Winter
"James Madison, author of the classic A Lynching in the Heartland, gives a sweeping portrayal of the ugly role of The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland and its blot on American history. He portrays its rise to power in Indiana in the 1920s, and its current iterations in "graffiti of Nazi flags painted outside a Hamilton county synagogue in 2018" and in "Klan recruiting notices that appeared across town" in Bloomington in 2019. This book burns."~Dan Wakefield, author of New York in the Fifties, and Going All The Way.
"By now, 100 years later, the story of the spell cast by the evil D.C. Stephenson over the good people of Indiana is familiar to anyone who knows the state's story. But that's not the whole story, says historian James H. Madison in his revelatory new book, The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland. The whole story is even more uncomfortable."~Nuvo
"Hard to take in, but easy to read due to his writing style, The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland, is a do-read. Madison's account of the Ku Klux Klan combines primary sourece material and original research with his clean, vivid and well researched writing. While lots of nonfiction by academics is, well, academic, Madison is monstrously absorbale."~The Herald Times
"In this tightly packed and well-written volume focused mostly on the second Klan, Madision provides a fast-paced analysis of how the Invisible Empire spread across the Hoosier State in the 1920s, becoming a symbol of good, solid Americanism for its many adherents and a symbol of fear and hatred for its myria of victims....The book deserves a wide readership."~Brent M.S. Campney, ANNALS OF IOWA
"In The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland, James H. Madison, attempts, with great success, to peek underneath those white hoods to bring focus the people who were part of the Klan, why they joined, how they viewed themselves, and how the Klan, seemingly once dead, has hung on to continue to preach its reprehensible creed."~Ray Boomhower, Indiana Authors Awards
- INDIES Book Award
The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland author shares insights on WTHR-TV
James H. Madison, Distinguished American Historian and author of our forthcoming book The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland, shares his insights about the history of the KKK in Indiana on WTHR-TV. Learn more about how Domestic terrorism threats on the rise in Indiana and across the country from WTHR-TV’s Sarah Jones.
Journey Indiana "100% Americans" The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland
Meet with Indiana historian Jim Madison to learn about his latest book.
Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland with Bartholomew County Public Library
Dr. James Madison discusses his new book, the Ku Klux Klan in the heartland and the impact that the KKK had on Indiana.
KKK in the Heartland with Professor James Madison with The Indianapolis Public Library
JTPL | Author Talk with Dr. James H. Madison: "The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland"
Recording of Zoom presentation on January 23, 2021 by Dr. James J. Madison about his latest book, The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland. He is the Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History Emeritus at Indiana University (IU) Bloomington.
Giving Voice: Dr. James Madison
On this installment of Giving Voice, we speak with Dr. James Madison, Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University and the author of the new book Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland about the Klan in Indiana in the 1920s. In our discussion, we talk about who joined the Klan and why, how the Klan came to power, and the legacy left by the Klan today.
Coffee with Friends with James Madison
Watch the recorded interview as Carolyn Calloway-Thomas and James Madison discuss his new book, hosted by the Monroe County Public Library.