Abolition, Abolitionist

Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown

Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown

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More than two centuries after his birth and almost a century and a half after his death, the legendary life and legacy of John Brown go marching on. Variously deemed martyr, madman, monster, terrorist, and saint, he remains one of the most controversial figures in America's history. Brown's actions in Kansas and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, provided major catalysts for the American Civil War, actions that continue today to evoke commendation or provoke condemnation.

Through the prisms of history, literature, psychology, criminal justice, oral history, African American studies, political science, film studies, and anthropology, Terrible Swift Sword offers insights not only into John Brown's controversial character and motives, but also into the nature of a troubled society before, during, and after the Civil War. The discussions include reasons why Brown's contemporaries supported him, attempts to define Brown using different criteria, analyses of Brown's behavior, his depiction in literature, and examinations of the iconography surrounding him.

The interdisciplinary focus marshalled by editor Peggy A. Russo makes Terrible Swift Sword unique, and this, together with the popular mythology surrounding the legend of John Brown, will appeal to a broad audience of readers interested in this turbulent moment in American history.Paul Finkelman is Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law. He is the author of many articles and books, including His Soul Goes Marching On: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid and the Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference Peggy Russo is an assistant professor of English at the Mont Alto Campus of Pennsylvania State University. She has published in Shakespeare Bulletin, The Southern Literary Journal, Journal of American Culture, Shakespeare and the Classroom, and Civil War Book Review.
Tie that Bound Us The Women of John Brown's Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism

Tie that Bound Us The Women of John Brown's Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism

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John Brown was fiercely committed to the militant abolitionist cause, a crusade that culminated in Brown's raid on the Federal armory at Harpers Ferry in 1859 and his subsequent execution. Less well known is his devotion to his family, and they to him. Two of Brown's sons were killed at Harpers Ferry, but the commitment of his wife and daughters often goes unacknowledged. In The Tie That Bound Us, Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz reveals for the first time the depth of the Brown women's involvement in his cause and their crucial roles in preserving and transforming his legacy after his death.As detailed by Laughlin-Schultz, Brown's second wife Mary Ann Day Brown and his daughters Ruth Brown Thompson, Annie Brown Adams, Sarah Brown, and Ellen Brown Fablinger were in many ways the most ordinary of women, contending with chronic poverty and lives that were quite typical for poor, rural nineteenth-century women. However, they also lived extraordinary lives, crossing paths with such figures as Frederick Douglass and Lydia Maria Child and embracing an abolitionist moral code that sanctioned antislavery violence in place of the more typical female world of petitioning and pamphleteering.In the aftermath of John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry, the women of his family experienced a particular kind of celebrity among abolitionists and the American public. In their roles as what daughter Annie called relics of Brown's raid, they tested the limits of American memory of the Civil War, especially the war's most radical aim: securing racial equality. Because of their longevity (Annie, the last of Brown's daughters, died in 1926) and their position as symbols of the most radical form of abolitionist agitation, the story of the Brown women illuminates the changing nature of how Americans remembered Brown's raid, radical antislavery, and the causes and consequences of the Civil War.