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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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By far the best version of John Brown and the Harpers Ferry raid I have ever read. Much better detail. The author puts the raid in context with the times and in relation to several other catalytic events that preceded the Civil War. I am well read on the Civil War but learn quite a bit from this story. Great narration which is key to all auidobooks!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The author skillfully weaves much research on John Brown into a compelling and fascinating account of his life long struggle against slavery culminating in the Harpers Ferry raid which resulted in his arrest, trial and execution. Its the years preceding the raid and the consequences of the raid that make Brown such an interesting and important person. Throughout, the author writes with a deft touch, introducing each of many characters with brief descriptions and colourful incidental material which brings the story alive. The reader also does a brilliant job, subtly intoning the words of each character, not least Brown himself. Oreskes is clearly a very talented actor.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful