Dixon lived through Reconstruction, and believed it ranked with the French Revolution in brutality and criminal acts. The Traitor (1907), the final book in his trilogy which also includes The Leopard’s Spots (1902), and The Clansman (1905), spans a two-year period just after Reconstruction (1870-1872), and covers the decline of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina. Dixon, whose father was an early Klan leader, maintained that the original Klan, the “reconstruction Klan” was morally formed in desperation to protect the people from lawlessness, address Yankee brutality, and save southern civilization. Now, in this final installment, he portrays how and why the later Klan falls into disrepute. The story includes folk legends, haunted houses, secret passageways, and spectral apparitions as part of its complicated story, weaving fact, fiction and romance in typical Dixon style.
While defamed as a white supremacist by today’s multi-cultural society, thus falling far out of favor, Dixon was one of the most popular American writers of the period, faithfully depicting the wide range of racial/cultural opinions of 19th century America. (Summary by Michele Fry)