Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War
With his raid and subsequent hanging in 1859, John Brown was despised as a madman in the South and revered as a patriot in the North. He hated slavery more than he loved his own life and those of his followers. Ten years in the planning, his raid and takeover of the armory at Harper’s Ferry on a cold October night sparked a battle that would cost several lives, including some of his own family. Tony Horwitz has done a wonderful job of giving readers a deeper look at this complex man. Brown’s attack at Harper’s Ferry further divided the North and the South and predated the Civil War by 18 months. His hope in making this raid and arming local slaves was to unite all abolitionists and end slavery in the United States forever. Lincoln called his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 “a John Brown raid on a gigantic scale.” This book gives us a look at every man and woman closely related to this important part of U.S. history. It’s been a while since I’ve read a narrative that flows so well while informing so much. I recommend this book to anyone with even the slightest interest in America’s past.