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Klan War: Ulysses S. Grant and the Battle to Save Reconstruction

October 10, 2023 @ 6:00 pm

 |  Free – $37.19


October 10, 2023
6:00 pm
Free – $37.19
Event Category:


Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Book Store
(617) 661-1515
Fergus M. Bordewich at the Cambridge Public Library
Klan War: Ulysses S. Grant and the
Battle to Save Reconstruction
in conversation with ILYON WOO


Klan War: Ulysses S. Grant and the Battle to Save Reconstruction

Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning historian FERGUS M. BORDEWICH for a discussion of his new book Klan War: Ulysses S. Grant and the Battle to Save Reconstruction. He will be joined in conversation by ILYON WOO—author of Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom.



RSVP for free to this event or choose the “Book-Included” ticket to reserve a copy of the book and pick it up at the event. Bordewhich will sign copies of his book after the presentation.

About Klan War

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.

Praise for Klan War

“Fergus Bordewich is an expert at turning momentous questions in American history into absorbing narratives. With insight and telling details, he reveals how Grant—by nature no crusader—directed federal resources against Klan attacks on African Americans, only to be undercut by political attempts to appease the hostile Liberal Republicans. A fascinating and foreboding book.” —T.J. Stiles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Custer’s Trials

“Grippingly tells the essential story of the unsung heroes who throttled the Ku Klux Klan’s murderous domestic terrorism after the Civil War, only to watch helplessly as a tragic loss of political will frittered away much of that triumph. The lessons for meeting today’s challenges are unmistakable and chilling.” —David O. Stewart, author of Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy

“Bordewich has done it again—this time, resurrecting an incredible American story of one man’s determination to secure civil rights, equality, and justice for millions of African Americans. Deeply researched and delivered through magnificent and gripping prose, Klan Wars reclaims Grant’s historic battle to build a unified nation in the face of a pernicious, hate-filled movement that waged a vicious grassroots campaign to reassert white supremacy. A must read!” —Kate Clifford Larson, author of Bound for the Promised Land