Children's Literature - Greg M. RomaneckIn the winter of 1837, shortly after hearing a sermon dealing with the death of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy, John Brown rose before the congregation of his Hudson, Ohio church and declared, "Here, before God, in the presence of these witnesses, from this time, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery." For the next twenty-two years John Brown lived up to that pledge as he fought against the evils of slavery in a way that ultimately led to his own destruction. In this illustrated biography, which is one of six titles in the "Voices for Freedom/Abolitionist Heroes" series, readers are given a guided journey down the corridors of John Brown's life. Told with an eye for narrative grace, this biography serves its subject well. Horn chronicles the life of an American who has come down through the ages as a polarizing figure. On the one hand, as Horn shows in this fine work, Brown was a dedicated opponent to the great evil of slavery. On the other, Brown was a seemingly fanatical man who led his men to destruction at Harper's Ferry in 1859 with a plan that had virtually no chance of succeeding. Despite the debate that continues to go on regarding the true value of John Brown's contributions to the abolitionist movement, what can be said is that Brown was a critically important figure in the prelude to the Civil War. As such, he is worthy of continued study and this biography provides younger readers with a useful tool in that pursuit. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library JournalGr 4-8–Detailed and completely readable, these titles provide thoughtful examinations of an important era in American history. While the information is available elsewhere, these books stand out because they are accessible and engaging. The writing is lively, drawing readers into the drama of the anti-slavery movement, and the accompanying photographs, illustrations, maps, and primary-source reproductions combine with the texts to make a quality package.
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