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Superman versus the Ku Klux Klan: The True…

Superman versus the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic…

by Richard Bowers

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825147,013 (3.88)8



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This is a fascinating book. For teenagers and adults, it's really a "double" history of both Superman and the Ku Klux Klan. I was a little disappointed that the two parties didn't actually "battle" until almost the end of the book, and when they did, it was a bit anti-climactic. There was really only one chapter devoted to what is advertised on the front of the book. That said, the book does a good job of telling the history, as well as putting it in the context of the Jewish backgrounds of Superman's creators. ( )
  cavlibrary | Sep 13, 2016 |
Despite the title of the book, the author does not get to that particular subject until over three-quarters of the way through and then not a whole lot is said about it. Leading up is some nicely detailed and very interesting history of the evolution of Superman, comic books, and the Ku Klux Klan. Susan Campbell Bartoletti offers a much better overview of Klan history in They Called Themselves the KKK, but Bowers gives a good deal of attention to a fascinating character named Stetson Kennedy. A letdown in many respects but still worthwhile. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
"After the war, the world seemed like a different place...German war criminals were on trial in Nuremberg... world leaders were forming the United Nations in New York City. Superman was looking for a new villain, and the Ku Klux Klan was planning a revival. Over a frenetic one-year period, the Man of Steel and the men of hate would pursue their separate paths -- and then collide."
Rick Bowers hits another one out of the park with this history about how a comic book superhero successfully took on one of the most racist organizations of its time. To understand how that came about, he takes us through Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's creation of the Superman comic book character in the summer of 1934, during the Great Depression. Superman rocketed to fame in 1938, and continued to battle evil in every form through World War II. After the war, one of the advertising executives asked the question, "What if Superman could teach a generation of children to reject those who preached prejudice and hate?" After the horrific lessons of the Holocaust, the public just might be ready for that. At the same time, however, the infamous hate group known as the Ku Klux Klan was working on building up its membership, spreading fear and divisiveness. In order for the writers of Superman to take them on, they would need information, much of which came from journalist Stetson Kennedy. They also used the scandalous behavior of Klan leaders as a model for their villains -- showing the organization as greedy, money-hungry cowards. The plot choices and lines were carefully scripted out in a 16 part serial that was a huge success. Truth, Justice and the American Way triumphed over hatred and prejudice in a very, very public way. Fantastic nonfiction for strong 6th grade readers and up! ( )
  KarenBall | Oct 22, 2012 |
"In the early 1930s newspaper headlines told of the hardships of the Great Depression... In a tight-knit Jewish enclave in Cleveland, Ohio, a shy teenager was working on a solution. To his mind, the world needed a superhero."

So begins a book that traces he origin of the Man of Steel as well as the origin of the Men of Hate (the KKK) to their roots and then shows how they came together at one fateful moment in time. I found each part of the story to be fascinating. Sometimes I can find history dry, but that was absolutely not the case with this book. I couldn't put it down.

Back matter includes a bibliography, source notes, and an index. The author kicks off the book with a brief author's note explaining how he researched the book.

This is a well-researched book that will have a lot of appeal to teens who like comics and/or the seedier bits of American history. ( )
  abbylibrarian | Sep 6, 2012 |
This short book tells the story of both Superman and the Ku Klux Klan in alternating chapter format, and how their paths merged briefly for a short time. The title was a bit misleading to me as I thought the entire book would focus on these two parties, but really only the last couple of chapters talk about the intersection. But, the author does this for a good reason as he gives the readers information on the history of Superman and the KKK to better understand why and how their paths crossed. And he does it in simple language that a reader as young as 10 would be able to follow along with. Most interesting to me was the history of the KKK, as I thought it had been a hate group that was constantly active from the time of the Civil War until the 60’s. Instead the author reveals that it was broken up at various points in history. Although the material presented on Superman vs the KKK was relatively short, the author does a good job of showing how the radio shows were written, where the information came from, and some of the controversy surrounding the information. This book would be particularly interesting to younger readers, but older fans of Superman may also enjoy learning more about their favorite caped hero. ( )
  zzshupinga | Aug 1, 2012 |
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Walking down the hallway of Glenville High, Jerry Siegel braced for another day of disappointment. It was only 8:30 in the morning, and the 17-year-old science fiction aficionado was already counting the hours to the final bell.
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Haiku summary
DC's Man of Steel
Fights men wearing their bed sheets
Who spew forth hatred.

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This book tells a group of intertwining stories that culminate in the historic 1947 collision of the Superman Radio Show and the Ku Klux Klan.

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