Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Midnight Rising by Tony Horowitz
Painstakingly researched, Midnight Rising is Tony Horowitz's account of John Brown and the raid at Harper's Ferry. Militarily, this was a small operation, but most people have heard of it. What makes it so important? Horowitz explains the country's environment and ambiance at the time which made this such an explosive event.
Tensions ran high in the country. The Abolitionists were convinced that slavery was an abomination; one that there was no action too desperate to try to eradicate. Those who owned slaves were convinced that without slavery their entire economic world would collapse. As always, when there are two such diametrically opposed viewpoints, tensions ran high and extremists on both sides were willing to take drastic actions to further their beliefs.
Horowitz examines the life and philosophy of John Brown, a figure that most recognize but few know much about. He covers Brown's early life and his start as an Abolitionist vigilant in Kansas, the place that gave him his reputation as a bloody yet effective leader. A staunch Abolitionist, he was willing to sacrifice his livelihood, his family and the lives of others as well as his own to further his beliefs. The result of Harper's Ferry, which stunned the nation, was to move the country even closer to the brink of the Civil War.
Tony Horowitz has had a fascination with the Civil War. His earlier book, Confederates in the Attic, explored this topic, and Midnight Rising continues this exploration. His writing style is fluid and entertaining and the reader is educated without feeling that he is lectured to. This book is recommended for history readers and those interested in the Civil War and the events leading up to it.