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John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights

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John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Few historical figures are as intriguing as John Brown, the controversial Abolitionist who used terrorist tactics against slavery and single-handedly changed the course of American history. This brilliant biography of Brown (1800—1859) by the prize-winning critic and cultural biographer David S. Reynolds brings to life the Puritan warrior who gripped slavery by the throat and triggered the Civil War.

When does principled resistance become anarchic brutality? How can a murderer be viewed as a heroic freedom fighter? The case of John Brown opens windows on these timely issues. Was Brown an insane criminal or a Christ-like martyr? A forerunner of Osama bin Laden or of Martin Luther King, Jr.? David Reynolds sorts through the tangled evidence and makes some surprising findings.

Reynolds demonstrates that Brown’s most violent acts–his slaughter of unarmed citizens in Kansas, his liberation of slaves in Missouri, and his dramatic raid, in October 1859, on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia–were inspired by the slave revolts, guerilla warfare, and revolutionary Christianity of the day. He shows us how Brown seized the nation’s attention, creating sudden unity in the North, where the Transcendentalists led the way in sanctifying Brown, and infuriating the South, where proslavery fire-eaters exploited the Harpers Ferry raid to whip up a secessionist frenzy. In fascinating detail, Reynolds recounts how Brown permeated politics and popular culture during the Civil War and beyond. He reveals the true depth of Brown’s achievement: not only did Brown spark the war that ended slavery, but he planted the seeds of the civil rights movement by making a pioneering demand for complete social and political equality for America’s ethnic minorities.

A deeply researched and vividly written cultural biography–a revelation of John Brown and his meaning for America.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

John Brown, the controversial Abolitionist who used terrorist tactics against slavery, single-handedly changed the course of American history. This biography by critic and cultural biographer Reynolds brings to life the Puritan warrior who gripped slavery by the throat and triggered the Civil War. When does principled resistance become anarchic brutality? How can a murderer be viewed as a heroic freedom fighter? The case of John Brown opens windows on these timely issues. Reynolds demonstrates that Brown's most violent acts--his slaughter of unarmed citizens in Kansas, his liberation of slaves in Missouri, and his dramatic raid, in October 1859, on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia--were inspired by the slave revolts, guerrilla warfare, and revolutionary Christianity of the day. He shows us how Brown seized the nation's attention, creating sudden unity in the North and infuriating the South. He reveals the true depth of Brown's achievement: not only did Brown spark the war that ended slavery, but he planted the seeds of the civil rights movement by making a pioneering demand for complete social and political equality for America's ethnic minorities.

Synopsis:

An authoritative new examination of John Brown and his deep impact on American history.

Bancroft Prize-winning cultural historian David S. Reynolds presents an informative and richly considered new exploration of the paradox of a man steeped in the Bible but more than willing to kill for his abolitionist cause. Reynolds locates Brown within the currents of nineteenth-century life and compares him to modern terrorists, civil-rights activists, and freedom fighters. Ultimately, he finds neither a wild-eyed fanatic nor a Christ-like martyr, but a passionate opponent of racism so dedicated to eradicating slavery that he realized only blood could scour it from the country he loved. By stiffening the backbone of Northerners and showing Southerners there were those who would fight for their cause, he hastened the coming of the Civil War. This is a vivid and startling story of a man and an age on the verge of calamity.

Synopsis:

Almost every page forces you to think hard, and in new ways, about American violence, American history, and what used to be called the American character. -The New YorkerA rich, nuanced and exhaustively researched ‘life and times' that positions the abolitionist firmly in the context of 19th-century American culture. . . . Impeccably written. -San Francisco ChronicleSplendidly written. . . . Reynolds is that rarest of authors who knows how to write well and who successfully presents a life-size image of Brown, warts and all. -Denver Post

The most complete word on Brown as man and myth. . . . Nobody knows more about American society and culture in the first two-thirds of the 19th century than Reynolds. . . . Vivid and convincing. . . . The best volume we now have on that incendiary figure.-The Providence JournalAbsorbing.-New York Times Book Review“ This well-researched book . . . peels away some of the extreme interpretations of Brown and offers a generally balanced and objective assessment of why he should matter.-St. Louis Post-DispatchGreat sensitivity, thorough research, and some marvelous narrative.-Washington Post Book WorldA rich, nuanced and exhaustively researched ‘life and times' that positions the abolitionist firmly in the context of 19th century American culture . . . impeccably written.-San Francisco ChronicleA masterful exploration of a fascinating, flawed character and his cultural impact.-Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionAbsorbing, well written and beautifully documented.”–The Nation

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

David S. Reynolds is Distinguished Professor of English and American Studies at the Graduate Center and Baruch College of the City University of New York. He received his B.A. from Amherst College and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at Rutgers University, New York University, Barnard College, and Northwestern University. His Walt Whitman's America won the Bancroft Prize, the Ambassador Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Beneath the American Renaissance won Phi Beta Kappa's Christian Gauss.

Table of Contents

The party — The puritan — The pioneer — The patriarch — The pauper — The plan — Pottawatomie — Pariah and legend — The promoter — Plotting multiculturally — Practice — Preparation — Problems — Pilloried, prosecuted, and praised — The passion — Positions and politics — The prophet — Posterity.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307486660
Subtitle:
The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights
Publisher:
Vintage books
Author:
Reynolds, David S.
Author:
David S. Reynolds
Subject:
History : United States - General
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
United States - Civil War
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
US History-1800 to Civil War
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20061114
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
592

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Historical
History and Social Science » Military » Civil War » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Slavery
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » US History » General

John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 592 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780307486660 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , John Brown, the controversial Abolitionist who used terrorist tactics against slavery, single-handedly changed the course of American history. This biography by critic and cultural biographer Reynolds brings to life the Puritan warrior who gripped slavery by the throat and triggered the Civil War. When does principled resistance become anarchic brutality? How can a murderer be viewed as a heroic freedom fighter? The case of John Brown opens windows on these timely issues. Reynolds demonstrates that Brown's most violent acts--his slaughter of unarmed citizens in Kansas, his liberation of slaves in Missouri, and his dramatic raid, in October 1859, on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia--were inspired by the slave revolts, guerrilla warfare, and revolutionary Christianity of the day. He shows us how Brown seized the nation's attention, creating sudden unity in the North and infuriating the South. He reveals the true depth of Brown's achievement: not only did Brown spark the war that ended slavery, but he planted the seeds of the civil rights movement by making a pioneering demand for complete social and political equality for America's ethnic minorities.
"Synopsis" by , An authoritative new examination of John Brown and his deep impact on American history.

Bancroft Prize-winning cultural historian David S. Reynolds presents an informative and richly considered new exploration of the paradox of a man steeped in the Bible but more than willing to kill for his abolitionist cause. Reynolds locates Brown within the currents of nineteenth-century life and compares him to modern terrorists, civil-rights activists, and freedom fighters. Ultimately, he finds neither a wild-eyed fanatic nor a Christ-like martyr, but a passionate opponent of racism so dedicated to eradicating slavery that he realized only blood could scour it from the country he loved. By stiffening the backbone of Northerners and showing Southerners there were those who would fight for their cause, he hastened the coming of the Civil War. This is a vivid and startling story of a man and an age on the verge of calamity.

"Synopsis" by , Almost every page forces you to think hard, and in new ways, about American violence, American history, and what used to be called the American character. -The New YorkerA rich, nuanced and exhaustively researched ‘life and times' that positions the abolitionist firmly in the context of 19th-century American culture. . . . Impeccably written. -San Francisco ChronicleSplendidly written. . . . Reynolds is that rarest of authors who knows how to write well and who successfully presents a life-size image of Brown, warts and all. -Denver Post

The most complete word on Brown as man and myth. . . . Nobody knows more about American society and culture in the first two-thirds of the 19th century than Reynolds. . . . Vivid and convincing. . . . The best volume we now have on that incendiary figure.-The Providence JournalAbsorbing.-New York Times Book Review“ This well-researched book . . . peels away some of the extreme interpretations of Brown and offers a generally balanced and objective assessment of why he should matter.-St. Louis Post-DispatchGreat sensitivity, thorough research, and some marvelous narrative.-Washington Post Book WorldA rich, nuanced and exhaustively researched ‘life and times' that positions the abolitionist firmly in the context of 19th century American culture . . . impeccably written.-San Francisco ChronicleA masterful exploration of a fascinating, flawed character and his cultural impact.-Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionAbsorbing, well written and beautifully documented.”–The Nation

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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