John Brown: The Legend Revisited

Overview

"Few figures hold as mythic a place in America's historical consciousness as John Brown. A fervent abolitionist, his New England reserve tempered by a childhood on the Ohio frontier, Brown advocated arming fugitive slaves to fight for their freedom, an idea that impressed Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. In 1855, answering the call of his five sons to join them in the desperate struggle for freedom in the new territories, John Brown became a hero of "Bleeding Kansas." When he returned east, the fiery leader
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1st Edition, Fine/Fine Clean, tight & bright. NO ink names, bookplates, DJ tears etc. ISBN 0813921325

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Overview

"Few figures hold as mythic a place in America's historical consciousness as John Brown. A fervent abolitionist, his New England reserve tempered by a childhood on the Ohio frontier, Brown advocated arming fugitive slaves to fight for their freedom, an idea that impressed Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. In 1855, answering the call of his five sons to join them in the desperate struggle for freedom in the new territories, John Brown became a hero of "Bleeding Kansas." When he returned east, the fiery leader launched his ambitious campaign to rouse the slaves to freedom with a raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in 1859." "Labeled a madman for his failed military adventure, and repudiated even by prominent antislavery leaders, Brown was tried in a Virginia court and sentenced to hang for treason and sundry other crimes. In John Brown: The Legend Revisited, the eminent historian Merrill D. Peterson brings the same blend of sharp-eyed analysis and narrative elegance to bear on Brown's legacy that he has used to unravel the images of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln." Brown's reputation has undergone a series of tectonic shifts since he met his death on the gallows just before the Civil War. Southerners viewed his exploits with apprehension, seeing Harpers Ferry as a harbinger of servile insurrection, while Brown's eloquence before the court won him sympathy in the North and confirmed his place there as a hero and martyr. Thoreau, the author of "Civil Disobedience," wrote of Brown as a man of conscience. Perhaps most important historically, Brown's exploits convinced Southerners that Lincoln's election meant secession and a call to arms. Peterson gives us Brown in his own day, but he also shows how the flaming abolitionist warrior's image, celebrated in art, literature, and journalism, has shed some of the infamy conferred by "Bleeding Kansas" to become a symbol of American idealism and fervor to activists along the pol
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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World

The symbol of American idealistic fervor, reexamined by a Jefferson scholar.

From the Publisher

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University of Virginia Press

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University of Virginia Press

Charles Dew

"An extraordinary work that traces the legend of this fascinating and complex man from Brown’s own era to the present day.... A tour de force.

H-Net Reviews

Insightful.... First-rate.... In Peterson’s chapters, the narrative flows easily between a discussion of the events of Brown’s life and the dramatization of the events in prose, poetry, and the visual arts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813921327
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Merrill D. Peterson, Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia, is the editor of the Library of America edition of the writings of Thomas Jefferson and author of numerous books, including Lincoln in American Memory and The Jefferson Image in the American Mind (Virginia).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2004

    A Challenge to Read

    This was a very difficult read because it is a collection of writings from other biographers. If you are able to plod through the text, you will be able to get a feeling for the period.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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