Bestselling author Horwitz tells the electrifying tale of the daring insurrection that put America on the path to bloody war. Plotted in secret, launched in the dark, John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry was a pivotal moment in U.S. history. But few Americans know the true story of the men and women who launched a desperate strike at the ...Read MoreBestselling author Horwitz tells the electrifying tale of the daring insurrection that put America on the path to bloody war. Plotted in secret, launched in the dark, John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry was a pivotal moment in U.S. history. But few Americans know the true story of the men and women who launched a desperate strike at the slaveholding South.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-08-08 In this engrossing history of John Brown's 1859 slave-liberation raid on the Harper's Ferry, Va., arsenal, bestselling author Horwitz (Confederates in the Attic) concentrates on action set against deftly sketched historical background and compelling characters rendered without overdone psychologizing. His vivid biographical portrait of Brown gives us an American original: a failed businessman and harsh Calvinist with a soft spot for the oppressed and a murderous animus against oppressors (even if sometimes, as at Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas, his victims were unarmed). Brown's raiders-a motley crew of his sons and various idealists, adventurers, freedmen, and fugitive slaves-come alive as a romantic, appealing bunch; their agonizing deaths give Horwitz's excellent narrative of the raid and shootout a deep pathos. The author's shrewd interpretation of Brown (similar to that of other scholars) makes him America's great propagandist of his deed; after the raid ended in fiasco, he used his eloquent trial statements to transform himself in the public eye from madman and desperado to martyr and prophet-and a symbol who hardened both Northern and Southern militancy. But Horwitz smartly gives priority to the deeds themselves in this dramatic saga of an American white man who acted, rather than just talked, as if ending slavery mattered. 35 illus.; 2 maps. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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