The Traitor is Volume III of the “Reconstruction Trilogy” set of historically accurate novels designed to tell the post Civil War story from the Southern side.
Dixon, a Baptist preacher, was driven to write the trilogy after seeing a stage version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Offended at the many lies and anti-Southern slander in that book, Dixon set about writing a comparative story told from the other side.
This book tells the story of John Graham, a native of North Carolina who becomes head of the Ku Klux Klan in his state. It opens with the order of dissolution of the Klan by its founder, General Nathan Bedford Forest, who regarded its work as done, and is set in the atmosphere of the fierce neighborhood feuds which marked the Klan’s downfall in the Piedmont region of the South. Graham is first betrayed, and then ultimately rescued by the daughter of one of the Klan’s victims.
Written in the colorful (and now very politically incorrect) style of the time, this book is a remarkable combination of a call for American unity and racial preservation.
Although Thomas Dixon personally condemned slavery and Klan activities after Reconstruction ended, he argued that blacks must be denied political equality because that leads to social equality and miscegenation, and thus the destruction of civilization.
Although it was the author’s intention to set the balance straight, the book highlights the madness of slavery, the impossibility of segregation and that physical racial geographical separation is the only answer to the race problem.
The other two volumes in this trilogy are Vol. I: The Leopard’s Spots and Vol. II: The Clansman. The latter book was made into the smash movie hit Birth of a Nation by DW Griffiths.