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The first in a trilogy of the Reconstruction era - The Leopard's Spots (1902), The Clansman (1905), and The Traitor (1907), parts of this novel were incorporated in the 1915 silent movie classic, "The Birth Of A Nation". Set in North Carolina, the book explores the extreme social and racial tensions of the period as Confederates attempt to fight off "reconstructionist" policy, rebuild the war-torn South's economy, and grapple with the rampant "race question" of the day, whether the black and white races can ever live side by side as equals, i.e., whether a leopard can change its spots? Characters include the villainous Reconstruction leader, Simon Legree (the same vile slave holder from Harriett Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, only many years later); Charles Gaston, a young southern gentleman who dreams of true love and the governor's mansion; Sallie Worth, sweet obedient daughter of southern aristocracy. A colorful assortment of preachers, carpetbaggers, scallywags, farmers, Ku Klux Klan members, and newly emancipated negroes help round out the cast. (Summary by Michele T. Fry)
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