Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Flaming Sword: A prophetic novel?

With Halfblack Messiah about to be inaugurated as President of the United States, interested readers might want to search for The Flaming Sword, the last published work from my favourite politically-incorrect novelist, Thomas Dixon. Mr. Dixon was best known for his trilogy of novels in the early 1900s that dwelt on racial themes: The Leopard's Spots (1902); The Clansman (1905); and The Traitor (1907). These novels, particularly The Clansman, served as the basis for D.W. Griffith's epic film The Birth of a Nation (1915).

The Flaming Sword, published in 1939 when Mr. Dixon was 75, was a story about a Communist conspiracy to take over the United States, using Negroes as dupes. In doing research for the book, Mr. Dixon examined all the newspaper accounts he could find of race riots in the United States from 1900-1938. Mr. Dixon was out of fashion by 1938, and The Flaming Sword was published by a small firm called Monarch Publishing Company in Atlanta (which may explain why The Flaming Sword is much harder to find than Mr. Dixon's earlier works). I haven't space here (or the inclination) to post excerpts from the book, but I will say that Mr. Dixon mixes real historical figures (e.g. W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey) with the fiction, in an entertaining (and sometimes disturbing way). Any resemblance between Thomas Dixon's fictitious speculation in The Flaming Sword and the presence of Halfblack Messiah in the White House, is, of course, coincidental--or is it?

1 comment:

  1. Amazon has a 2005 KU Press softcover for $24.99

    http://www.amazon.com/Flaming-Sword-Thomas-Dixon/dp/0813191297

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