By Tony Horwitz
A New York Times outstanding ebook for 2011
A Library magazine Top Ten top Books of 2011
A Boston Globe most sensible Nonfiction booklet of 2011
Late at the evening of October sixteen, 1859, John Brown introduced a shock raid at the slaveholding South. major a biracial band of militant idealists, he seized the big armory at Harpers Ferry, freed and armed slaves, and vowed to free up each bondsman in America.
Brown's bold strike sparked a savage highway struggle and a counterattack via U.S. Marines below Robert E. Lee. The bloodshed and courtroom drama that additionally surprised a divided kingdom and propelled it towards civil conflict. 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 integral heritage of a guy and a time that also resonate in our own.
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Extra info for Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War
Designed to deal with the armory’s fireplace engines, it will now turn into Brown’s command submit and the keeping phone for his most precious hostages. The prisoners have been situated on the rear of the engine apartment, at the back of the fireplace carts. Their captors manned the doorways, which opened inward and will be pulled again a couple of inches to see or shoot out of. Brown additionally placed one in all Allstadt’s freed slaves, Phil Luckum, to paintings drilling on the building’s brick partitions to create openings for rifles. “You are a stunning stout taking a look fellow,” he acknowledged to Luckum, “can’t you knock a gap via there for me? ” utilizing mason’s instruments, Luckum labored until eventually a bullet despatched brick and mortar flying again in his face. “It’s getting too hot,” he declared, leaving Brown to complete the activity. With bullets thudding opposed to the engine condo and crashing throughout the excessive home windows, Brown’s hostages agreed to aid dealer a cease-fire. a number one citizen was once despatched out with a flag of truce, escorted via William Thompson, who had buoyantly informed John prepare dinner a little while in the past that “everything used to be okay” on the Ferry. prior within the day, Brown had despatched out emissaries with out incident. however the gunmen now surrounding the armory have been in no temper to barter. They briskly seized Thompson and dragged him into the guess condo, tying his palms and toes to an armchair within the parlor. because the first of Brown’s males to be captured, Thompson was once set upon by way of interrogators who requested approximately his motivation and the which means of the assault. “His solutions have been always the same,” stated Christine Fouke, the sister of the hotel’s owner. Thompson informed his captors he were “taught to think the Negroes have been cruelly handled and may gladly avail themselves of the 1st chance to acquire their freedom. ” He’d additionally been resulted in think that when Brown and his males took ownership of the armory, “the coloured humans may are available in a mass, subsidized via the non-slaveholders of the Valley of Virginia. ” THOMPSON’S SEIZURE, less than A flag of truce, angered Brown and enraged his second-in-command on the armory, Aaron Stevens. gentle in his lovelorn letters to the Ohio track instructor Jennie Dunbar, Stevens was once a ferocious fighter and dangerously hotheaded while crossed. His court-martial, 5 years ahead of, used to be as a result of Stevens having felt insulted via a fantastic officer, which brought on him to attract his gun, claim “I am nearly as good a guy as you,” and threaten to blow out the officer’s “damned brains. ” considering the fact that arriving in Harpers Ferry, he’d spoken sharply to Lewis Washington, the patrician plantation grasp, and advised one other hostage who expressed aid of slavery, “You often is the first fellow i'd grasp. ” Now, he sought after violent retribution opposed to Thompson’s captors. Stevens used to be dissuaded from this plan of action by way of the main trendy of the neighborhood hostages, Archibald Kitzmiller, the performing superintendent of the armory. (His enhanced used to be away on company. ) Kitzmiller have been the 1st guy woke up by way of John Starry, who had alerted him that the armory “was in ownership of an armed band.