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A Plea For Captain John Brown
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A Plea For Captain John Brown

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  137 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
He was one of that class of whom we hear a great deal, but, for the most part, see nothing at all- the Puritans. It would be in vain to kill him. He died lately in the time of Cromwell, but he reappeared here. Why should he not? Some of the Puritan stock are said to have come over and settled in New England. They were a class that did something else than celebrate their fo ...more
Published June 1st 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published February 12th 2001)
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Neelam Babul
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A remarkable historical essay on how Captain John sacrificed his life for a just cause of liberating slaves and fighting for the oppressed as well as the exploited minorities. He was a voice for the voiceless.

Even though he was regarded as a traitor, a criminal and a man worthy of being hanged to death, he was a figure to be highly respected for he selflessly devoted his life to a cause he believed in.

Thoreau in this essay expresses his respect and admiration for Captain John as well as provide
Jun 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A case for Brown cannot be about his religious fervor. It must be about when and why it is OK illegally to kill people whose actions are legal but wrong.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A moving public eulogy for John Brown, in response to his unjust execution for treason by the state of Virginia for trying to liberate enslaved people.

It felt especially relevant reading this today when we are drowned in conversation about what is appropriate or polite in effecting change and liberating people. Thoreau's passage on "human sentiment" is especially resonant.

Was very short (and very free, I got it through my library on Hoopla) so I can't recommend it enough.
Jeff Whittum
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
John Brown's name, to those who even know who he was, lives in infamy as a man who violently descended upon a sleeping town, massacring many in the night. He would be hanged for this offense. What most will never know is that this man lived, and ultimately died, for the 4 million slaves for whose liberty he worked. You won't find many works of literature praising this man, but there are thankfully a few essays out there that at least attempted to give Brown's actions the proper context and so of ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american, non-fiction
“What is that I hear cast overboard? The bodies of the dead that have found deliverance. That is the way we are ‘diffusing’ humanity, and its sentiments with it.”
I love Thoreau and this essay is powerful. The above quote is typical of its strength. He is describing a slave ship disposing of dead bodies. But I am reading a contradiction. Thoreau is against capital punishment:
“When a government takes the life of a man without the consent of his conscience, and is taking a step towards its won disi
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you ever read anything about Captain John Brown, read this. Thoreau impassioned plea for the man that John Brown was and what he was giving his life for, to end slavery. John Brown, a staunch abolitionist who was more than willing to die for the cause. Thoreau wrote this about him while he was still alive. Brown was eventually hanged.
Sarah Crawford
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I never knew that Thoreau wrote this type of book. He gives a background of John Brown and really praises him and what he did. He also critizes the press. One unusual thing I found interesting was his use of the term 'plug-uglies' which I thought originated with ganster movies but apparently it was in use long before that.

A very interesting book.
Jessica Roberts
Ok, it's history

But it's scattered, speculative history. Better to read things like John Brown's speech from his trial. It's also extremely critical of the politicos and the fourth estate. From a LITERARY point of view, well...just give this one a miss.
Miles Smith
Thoreau' s martyr

This fascinating treatment of John Brown provides a clear look at abolitionist thinking in 1859. Thoreau borders on the blasphemous in his description of Brown. Still, an all together fascinating little apology.
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Thoreau likes commas.
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting example of effective rhetoric. My publication included a concise, but very illuminating biographical synopsis of Thoreau.
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Goodreads Librari...: something wrong with the page numbers... 4 19 Apr 09, 2014 03:17PM  
Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books
“No doubt you can get more in your market for a quart of milk than for a quart of blood, but that is not the market that heroes carry their blood to.” 3 likes
“When we heard at first [John Brown] was dead, one of my townsmen observed that "he died as the fool dieth"; which, pardon me, for an instant suggested a likeness in him dying to my neighbor living. Others, craven-hearted, said disparagingly, that "he threw his life away" because he resisted the government. Which ways have they thrown their lives, pray? ---such would praise a man for attacking singly an ordinary band of thieves and murderers. I hear another ask, Yankee-like, "What will he gain by it?" as if he expected to fill his pockets by their enterprise. Such a one has no idea of gain but in this worldly sense. If it does not lead to a "surprise" party, if he does not gain a new pair of boots, or a vote of thanks, it must be a failure. "But he won't gain anything by it." Well, no, I don;t suppose he could get four-and-sixpence a day for being hung, take the year round; but he stands a chance to save a considerable part of his soul- and what a soul!- when you do not. No doubt you can get more in your market for a quart of milk than a quart of blood, but that is not the market heroes carry their blood to.” 0 likes
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