John's Reviews > Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War

Midnight Rising by Tony Horwitz
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's review
Mar 06, 2012

it was amazing
Read in March, 2012

I loved this book. I loved "Confederates in the Attic" too, but this was a little bit of a departure from that one- instead of a journalistically flavored jaunt around the country, interviewing interesting people, this book delves into one man and one major episode in American history. I have to say, the author acquits himself well as a historian. He also does something historians don't usually do, which was great: using letters and diaries, he attempts to allow each participant in John Brown's raid to speak for themselves just a little, which really humanizes them. When some of them die, the death hits the reader (at least this reader) much harder. He also tells the story with a lot of style, and it is an exciting story. I was thinking while reading this that it should be a movie, but if they made it into a movie I think people would assume the filmmakers were taking dramatic license. I mean, c'mon, Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart showed up at Harpers Ferry? John Wilkes Booth was there?! That's crazy. Frederick Douglass came down from New York and had a secret conference with John Brown in a quarry on the eve of the attack? When John Wilkes Booth showed up, I think I actually said "No way" out loud. That is just absurd, but apparently it happened. Honestly, I think historians and casual readers alike would really enjoy this.

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message 1: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Let me know what you think of this book (i.e. should I buy it?)

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