by Robert E. McGlone
From the publisher:
Drawing on both new and neglected evidence, this book reconstructs Old John Brown's aborted "war" to free the 3.8 million slaves in the American South before the Civil War. It critiques misleading sources that either exalt Brown's "heroism" and noble purpose or condemn his "monomania" and "lawlessness." McGlone explains the sources of Brown's obsession with slavery and his notorious crime at Pottawatomie Creek in "Bleeding Kansas" as well as how the Harper's Ferry raid figured into Brown's larger vision and why he was captured in the federal armory there.
John Brown's War Against Slavery chronicles how this aged American apostle of violence on behalf of the "downtrodden," this abolitionist "fanatic" and "terroriser" ultimately rescued his cause by going to the gallows with resolution and outward calm. By embracing martyrdom, John Brown helped to spread panic in the South and persuaded Northern sympathizers that failure can be noble and political violence "righteous."
From the critics:
"McGlone's prose can be dense, repetitive and larded with psychological analysis, but his careful research and nuanced, many-faceted analysis make this a valuable contribution to our understanding of Brown." - Publishers Weekly
"Robert McGlone, in his compelling new study of John Brown, has resituated a major figure in American history. John Brown's War on Slavery carefully dissects the ideals and motives of the controversial Brown. Rejecting conclusions that have polarized our national understandings, McGlone instead presents a nuanced interpretation of John Brown that is thoroughly exhaustive in terms of research, but at the same time, in that most difficult of achievements, immensely readable. McGlone is especially persuasive in his analysis of Brown's motivations and how his actions, most famously in Kansas and at Harpers Ferry, emerge from his mental life, his family's circumstances and his religious orientations." - Jean H Baker, Goucher College
"This biography of John Brown, based on strong empirical evidence from the primary sources, supported by strong theoretical underpinnings, and built on a sophisticated understandings of nineteenth century theology and culture, is a pleasure to read and the most complete story of John Brown that we have. McGlone seamlessly interweaves a narrative of the events and time of Brown with the problems of the interpretative literature on Brown." - Orville Vernon Burton, Coastal Carolina University, Author Age of Lincoln
"In this fascinating and nuanced book, Robert McGlone explores in great depth the volcanic life of the most troubling and important terrorist in American history. With meticulous research and always-thoughtful use of personality theory, McGlone challenges earlier, often glib assessments and unravels many of the mysteries of Brown's psyche. With considerable originality, he explores the deeply meaningful social and psychological patterns of Brown's extended family, from the experiences of Brown's grandparents to those of his children. McGlone's analysis of the Harpers Ferry raid is notable for its accuracy and complexity of meanings. His approach is both detached and compassionate: he seeks to understand what others have merely judged." - Michael Fellman, Emeritus, Simon Fraser University, Author of In the Name of God and Country: Reconsidering Terrorism in American History