Midnight Rising by Tony Horwitz
John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War

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Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
A Library Journal Top Ten Best Books of 2011
A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2011

Bestselling author Tony Horwitz tells the electrifying tale of the daring insurrection that put America on the path to bloody war

Plotted in secret, launched in the dark, John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry was a pivotal moment in U.S. history. But few Americans know the true story of the men and women who launched a desperate strike at the slaveholding South. Now, Midnight Rising portrays Brown's uprising in vivid color, revealing a country on the brink of explosive conflict.

Brown, the descendant of New England Puritans, saw slavery as a sin against America's founding principles. Unlike most abolitionists, he was willing to take up arms, and in 1859 he prepared for battle at a hideout in Maryland, joined by his teenage daughter, three of his sons, and a guerrilla band that included former slaves and a dashing spy. On October 17, the raiders seized Harpers Ferry, stunning the nation and prompting a counterattack led by Robert E. Lee. After Brown's capture, his defiant eloquence galvanized the North and appalled the South, which considered Brown a terrorist. The raid also helped elect Abraham Lincoln, who later began to fulfill Brown's dream with the Emancipation Proclamation, a measure he called "a John Brown raid, on a gigantic scale."

Tony Horwitz's riveting book travels antebellum America to deliver both a taut historical drama and a telling portrait of a nation divided--a time that still resonates in ours.

 

About Tony Horwitz

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Tony Horwitz is the bestselling author of Midnight Rising, A Voyage Long and Strange, Blue Latitudes, Confederates in the Attic, and Baghdad Without a Map. He is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has worked for The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. He lives in Martha's Vineyard with his wife, Geraldine Brooks, and their two sons.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.. 382 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Midnight Rising

Kirkus Reviews

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Among this group was Brown himself, whose hanging represented just retribution in the minds of many detractors, especially whites in the South, but served as equally apt martyrdom in the eyes of his supporters.

Sep 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

The New York Times

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For John Brown, violence was necessary to defeat slavery.

Oct 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

The Wall Street Journal

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The North's veneration of Brown swelled until he became a legend among Union troops, who famously sang as they marched: "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave, / But his soul goes marching on."

Oct 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

Star Tribune

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Horwitz examines the ever-controversial John Brown, the militant abolitionist who, a year before the Civil War began, invaded the South in hopes of fomenting a slave rebellion.

Oct 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

The Washington Times

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“Once Brown lit the fuse, less with his actions than with the moral clarity of his words, Southerners were unable to extinguish it.” In the South, “fire-eaters, emboldened by the secessionist fever that broke out after Brown’s hanging, led to a walkout at the 1860 Democratic convention.” The part...

Dec 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

Christian Science Monitor

Despite the best efforts of some very good teachers, many things in American history remain murky to me.

Oct 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

Dallas News

Probably no event associated with the American Civil War, save the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, is better known than John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in October 1859.

Oct 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

Washington Independent Review of Books

It was a long and winding road that led John Brown and his band to the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, and Horwitz follows him diligently for the entire distance (even to the extent of hiking the same route that Brown and his little band took from the hideout on a Pennsylvania farm to the armory...

| Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

San Francisco Chronicle

They "cast Brown as a Christ figure," though he had a bloodier biblical role model, Samson: "God's avenger, wounded and in bonds, triumphantly crying at the last, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' " Interestingly, Brown also provoked admiration among Southerners.

Oct 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

Tampa Bay Times

Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War By Tony Horwitz Holt, 365 pages, $28 Review: 'Midnight Rising' by Tony Horwitz a portrait of an fervent, disciplined and murderous John Brown and his Harpers Ferry raid 11/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 12, 2...

Nov 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

Historical Novel Society

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.

| Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

Bookmarks Magazine

The Topic: Concerned that John Brown's infamous attack on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, had become little more than "a speed bump for students racing ahead to Fort Sumter and the Gettysburg Address," Tony Horwitz reexamines this pivotal story and its enduring legacy in American history.

Oct 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Midnight Rising: John Brown a...

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