Midnight Rising

John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War

By Tony Horwitz
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805091533, 384pp.)

Publication Date: October 25, 2011

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the November 2011 Indie Next List
“The Civil War had its origins long before Fort Sumter, but possibly the biggest spark was provided by one extremely intense, driven man, John Brown. Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 not only provided a frightening specter to nervous southern slave owners, it was also a moral slap in the face to the rest of the country, especially during his trial. The long-range effects of one man and his moral passion are superbly rendered by the award-winning Horwitz.”
-- Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI


Description

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
A Library Journal Top Ten Best Books of 2011
A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2011

Bestselling author Tony 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. Now, Midnight Rising portrays Brown's uprising in vivid color, revealing a country on the brink of explosive conflict.

Brown, the descendant of New England Puritans, saw slavery as a sin against America's founding principles. Unlike most abolitionists, he was willing to take up arms, and in 1859 he prepared for battle at a hideout in Maryland, joined by his teenage daughter, three of his sons, and a guerrilla band that included former slaves and a dashing spy. On October 17, the raiders seized Harpers Ferry, stunning the nation and prompting a counterattack led by Robert E. Lee. After Brown's capture, his defiant eloquence galvanized the North and appalled the South, which considered Brown a terrorist. The raid also helped elect Abraham Lincoln, who later began to fulfill Brown's dream with the Emancipation Proclamation, a measure he called "a John Brown raid, on a gigantic scale."

Tony Horwitz's riveting book travels antebellum America to deliver both a taut historical drama and a telling portrait of a nation divided—a time that still resonates in ours.




About the Author

Tony Horwitz is the bestselling author of Midnight Rising, A Voyage Long and Strange, Blue Latitudes, Confederates in the Attic, and Baghdad Without a Map. He is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has worked for The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. He lives in Martha's Vineyard with his wife, Geraldine Brooks, and their two sons.




NPR
Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011

John Brown, the man who led the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Va., may be among the most polarizing figures in American history. To some, he's a traitor and terrorist; to others, he's a hero. Tony Horwitz discusses his book Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War. More at NPR.org

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