By Tony Horwitz
A New York Times impressive publication for 2011
A Library magazine Top Ten most sensible Books of 2011
A Boston Globe top Nonfiction e-book of 2011
Late at the evening of October sixteen, 1859, John Brown introduced a shock raid at the slaveholding South. prime a biracial band of militant idealists, he seized the big armory at Harpers Ferry, freed and armed slaves, and vowed to disencumber each bondsman in America.
Brown's bold strike sparked a savage highway struggle and a counterattack by means of U.S. Marines below Robert E. Lee. The bloodshed and court docket drama that additionally stunned a divided country and propelled it towards civil battle. Tony Horwitz's Midnight Rising brings Brown and his rebellion vividly to lifestyles and charts America's descent into explosive clash. the result's a taut and vital heritage of a guy and a time that also resonate in our own.
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Additional info for Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War
Sanborn is there no such factor as honor between confederates? ” Higginson fired again, disgusted that Brown and his males had suffered whereas “silent secure companions make haste to safe our strong recognition through a lie! ” He refused to ruin Sanborn’s letters, and signed one among his personal: “There is not any desire of burning this. ” Henry David Thoreau whereas HIGGINSON STEWED IN deepest, one other New Englander went boldly public in safeguard of Brown. a couple of days after the Harpers Ferry assault, Henry David Thoreau advised townspeople in harmony that he deliberate to offer a speech aiding the jailed abolitionist. notwithstanding many voters of the freethinking city had sponsored Brown strongly simply months earlier than, they now dreaded any organization with Harpers Ferry. neighborhood abolitionists discouraged Thoreau from conversing and city selectmen refused to strike a chord saying his lecture. Undaunted, Thoreau rang the bell himself—on October 30, the eve of the abolitionist’s conviction—before providing a stirring oration that used to be released below the name “A Plea for Captain John Brown. ” reminiscent of his well-known essay “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau forged Brown as an exemplar of principled resistance to authority. “Is it attainable that someone will be correct and a central authority unsuitable? ” he requested. “Are legislation to be enforced just because they're made? ” Brown, he stated, had resisted unjust legislation and stood up for human dignity, “knowing himself for a guy, and the equivalent of any and all governments. In that experience he was once the main American folks all. ” Thoreau contrasted this person heroism with the “cackling of political conventions” and the cravenness of the northern public, fairly “the herd” of commentators who condemned Brown or reported him “insane. ” Thoreau additionally mocked his Yankee friends who observed every thing when it comes to achieve, and hence felt that Brown had thrown his existence away. “No doubt you will get extra on your marketplace for a quart of milk than for a quart of blood, yet that isn't the marketplace that heroes hold their blood to,” Thoreau stated. He reserved his maximum compliment for the phrases spoken by means of Brown to the Virginians who had puzzled him on the armory quickly after his catch. the entire many antislavery speeches by means of northern congressmen, mixed and boiled down, Thoreau acknowledged, “do no longer fit for manly directness and strength, and for easy fact, the few informal feedback of loopy John Brown” as he lay bleeding at the ground of the paymaster’s place of work. As Thoreau memorably positioned it: “He may well manage to pay for to lose his Sharpe’s rifles, whereas he retained his college of speech,—a Sharpe’s rifle of infinitely surer and longer diversity. ” 3 DAYS LATER, ON November 2, Brown could convey himself absolutely useful of Thoreau’s compliment. Brown used to be now good sufficient to stroll, although with hassle, and through the courtroom consultation that day he sat rather than mendacity on a cot. “It was once overdue, and the gaslights gave a virtually deathly pallor to his face,” one reporter wrote. “He used to be like a block of stone. ” Brown remained emotionless because the pass judgement on denied a protection movement looking to overturn his verdict.