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Patriotic treason : John Brown and the soul of America
Evan Carton
Adult Nonfiction E451 .C37 2006

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Carton has written an absorbing and inspiring, though not wholly innovative, biography of abolitionist firebrand John Brown. A historian of American culture, Carton (The Marble Faun: Hawthorne's Transformations) centers this portrait on Brown's ceaseless efforts to end slavery. From the earliest days, Brown's abolitionism was grounded in Christianity: for him, the biblical call to love thy neighbor trumped any argument a proslavery theologian could make. As for what Brown accomplished in the climactic 1859 raid at Harpers Ferry, Carton quotes, and seems to share, the assessment of Brown's contemporary Wendell Phillips that Brown "loosened the roots of the slave system" and can be credited with ending slavery in Virginia. Carton usefully sets Brown's abolitionism against the backdrop of a larger American story-the increased radicalism of black abolitionists beginning in the 1840s; the Compromise of 1850 (which admitted California to the union as a free state while passing the Fugitive Slave Act); and ongoing debates about whether slavery should be legal in western territories. Like Brown's other recent biographer, David Reynolds (John Brown, Abolitionist), Carton writes with great admiration for his subject. His Brown is a hero who set the nation on a road to justice that we are traveling still. B&w photos. (Sept. 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

John Brown's historic raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, VA, in 1859 liberated no slaves, but it sparked dramatic emotions that hastened the coming of the Civil War. Carton (American literature & culture, Univ. of Texas, Austin; The Marble Faun: Hawthorne's Transformations) offers a sympathetic portrait of this significant figure, a white man with a true empathy for the plight of African Americans, who was compelled to take violent action to enable those held in chains to free themselves. Drawing on an impressive collection of archival sources and secondary studies, he highlights Brown's dramatic rhetoric, focuses on his deep religious convictions and his relationship with family members, and links his actions with those of modern-day activists. Similar in content to such recent biographies as David S. Reynolds's John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights, this is a compelling biography. While it offers little that is new, it will be greatly enjoyed by the casual reader. Although perhaps not a high-priority purchase for academic libraries, it is recommended for larger public libraries.-Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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