Miles's Reviews > Fire from the Midst of You: A Religious Life of John Brown

Fire from the Midst of You by Louis A. DeCaro Jr.
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Apr 03, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed
Read in April, 2011 — I own a copy

John Brown was first and foremost a religious warrior, a Christian jihadist, committed to the duality of spiritual and military struggle. DeCaro gets this, and helpfully focuses on the fine religious distinctions between various strains of Christianity in John Brown's life prior to Kansas, and the evolution of his religious thinking. This is really key to understanding what happens later at Harper's Ferry. Unlike other biographers, who are sometimes only nominally sympathetic to Brown, Decaro's attitude is unequivocally favorable. He grasps that John Brown was right about the need to oppose slavery with violence, and that all the equivocating pacifist abolitionists were simply wrong and behind their times. While this book is less useful than some others as an event by event chronicle, it does cover all of the major milestones. In its grasp of the early John Brown and the cultural and religious context of his life this is the best of several John Brown biographies I've recently read.
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