Ghosts of the KKK still haunt American politics

This is the first history of the Ku Klux Klan from ‘its origins in post-Civil War Tennessee to the present day’ and it makes for a lively read. Kristofer Allerfeldt, a history professor at the University of Exeter, combines lucid political analysis with eye-popping details of violence. One victim of a lynching was made to climb a tree with a noose round his neck but stubbornly clung onto a branch. Rather than waste a bullet and spare him a slow death by strangulation, a Klan member climbed up after him and sawed off his fingers one by one until he dropped. The Klan started as a fraternity of six young,

The horrors of lynching: The Trees, by Percival Everett, reviewed

Percival Everett’s 22nd novel The Trees was that rare thing on this year’s Booker shortlist: a genre novel. Only which genre? Crime is its first claimant – the bickering Bryants of Money, Mississippi having stumbled straight off an Elmore Leonard page. Then it’s horror – the obscenity of the first Bryant death rivalling the grisliest of Stephen King. Then, with the flummoxing custody-elusion of the black suspect, it’s a locked room mystery. Then, with the arrival of two wisecracking black cops from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Blaxploitation takes over. But the book is more than just an exercise in genre-hopping. Money, Mississippi was where 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched