Main Article Content
Tom Rice’s book begins with a description of the 1915 opening of The Birth of a Nation in Atlanta. In celebration of the film, Klansmen marched down Peachtree Street and staged a rifle salute outside the theater. On the surface, the Klan’s appearance before the film resembled the performance of hooded nightriders at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. But, as Rice explains, the Klansmen in Los Angeles were actors; in Atlanta, they were actual members of the newly formed white supremacist organization. Was this a case of art imitating life? Rice’s study of the complex, mutual development of the modern Ku Klux Klan and the American film industry, visual culture, and politics is a benchmark example of the contribution film studies can make to our understanding of American history.