Midnight Rising

  • by Tony Horwitz
  • Narrated by Dan Oreskes
  • 11 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Best-selling 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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Up from Obscurity

I had not really thought about Harpers Ferry since college. Then I encountered Tony Horwitz’s Midnight Rising. I choose books about topics unfamiliar to me and this book was a great choice. First, Horwitz approaches his subject with the freshness of a student discovering an issue for the first time. He certainly does his homework. The Horwizt tale of John Brown’s raid is so rich that I wonder how I missed the wonder of the story the first time it was introduced to me. For many this story is simply ‘Old John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave, while weep the sons of bondage who he ventured all to save’ and so on. I assume Civil War buffs are conversant, but the story has faded largely into general obscurity. Horwitz refers to John Brown and Abraham Lincoln as ‘bookends to the Civil War.’ Brown’s contribution should receive wider appreciation and Horwitz has done his part to bring this about. The reading of Dan Oreskes ads vitality.
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- Lynn

Great Book

I've read a ton of Civil War books and was familiar with John Brown's raid and the importance of it but I didn't know the subject in great detail, which is why I picked up this book.

Simply said it's an excellent book and I think it strikes the right tone. I'm always afraid that whenever the issue of slavery is brought up in a modern book it's going to fall into the PC camp of needing to constantly apologize or into the demonizing / hero worship trap. I never really found any hints of an agenda, which only makes me appreciate the book that much more.

The author does a great job of setting the scene, gives enough of a background on Brown that you know him but keeps the story moving along at a good pace. I felt he covered everything in good detail so even if you didn't know anything about Brown or the aftermath of this raid you'd fully understand what happened, why and why it was later important.

The reader does an equally impressive job -- it's a straight read for the most part but it's very clear, moves at a good pace and I didn't really notice any mistakes or errors.

Overall I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to learn more about Brown, or more importantly anyone interested in Civil War books since this is really part of the build up as much as anything else that occurred.
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- Rodney

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-25-2011
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio