Catalogue


John Brown still lives! : America's long reckoning with violence, equality, & change /
R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2011.
description
xiii, 279 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0807835013 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780807835012 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2011.
isbn
0807835013 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780807835012 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction : cause and consequence : John Brown in nineteenth-century America -- Some definite plan : the early life of John Brown -- The final arbiter : Bleeding Kansas and the creation of the old hero -- Not buried but planted : cultivating the legend of John Brown -- A saint in suspense : competing visions of John Brown -- Discrimination and destiny : John Brown and the NAACP -- The soul rests : Stephen Vincent Benét and the silencing of John Brown's body -- The fugitive imagination : a John Brown for the old South -- Revising Kansas : John Steuart Curry and the fanaticism of John Brown -- Together under arms : Jacob Lawrence paints Black history -- Epilogue. Climax and harbinger : a life as a common cause.
catalogue key
8178746
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [247]-264) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Frederick Douglass Prize, USA, 2012 : Nominated
Excerpts
Flap Copy
From his obsession with the founding principles of the U.S. to his cold-blooded killings in the battle over slavery's expansion, John Brown forced his countrymen to reckon with America's violent history, its checkered progress toward racial equality, and its resistance to substantive change. Tracing Brown's legacy in writing and art, Gilpin transforms Brown from an object of endless manipulation into a dynamic medium for contemporary beliefs about the process and purpose of the American republic.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2011-09-15:
In this, his first book, Gilpin (United States Study Ctr., Univ. of Sydney, Australia) tracks the uses, and abuses, of John Brown's image from Brown's own self-promotion to recent artists' renderings. In doing so, he argues that each generation had its own takes on Brown as they wrestled with the meanings of racial equality and social change and the instruments-especially violence-used to realize change. By examining the works of biographers from James Redpath to W.E.B. DuBois, poet Stephen Vincent Benet, the Southern Fugitive writers such as Robert Penn Warren, and artists as varied as Thomas Hovenden, John Steuart Curry, Jacob Lawrence, and Kara Walker, Gilpin shows the malleability of Brown's symbolic power and his persistent appeal as the metaphor for antislavery, heroism, and fanaticism. VERDICT Gilpin's choices are somewhat idiosyncratic, so the full range of (especially more recent) renderings of Brown the person and the symbol does not get covered, but his analysis is pointed and pertinent. University students will especially profit from his resurrections of Brown.-Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[A] fine study. . . . [that] examine[s] with equal sophistication the diverse forms in which Brown has become a vehicle for some of the most pressing ideological debates in American political culture." - Journal of American History
"Another fascinating study of how Americans have considered violence and change through their memories of one man and one event. . . . An excellent book." - Journal of Southern History
"Gilpin provides a compelling analysis of an important topic." - West Virginia History
"Gilpin's book is an outstanding contribution to the growing body of work on historical memory." - American Historical Review
"Gilpin's book shows . . . that John Brown remains a lightning rod in American culture, and the wildly divergent opinions of Brown are a testament to the power of history to define a man, his ideals, and his nation." - Kansas History
"Gilpin's study of John Brown in American memory is a genuine masterpiece. The depth of the interpretation, the comprehensiveness of the research, the intellectual breadth of the narrative, and the lucidity of the prose make this a most outstanding work. The author has contributed enormously not just to our understanding of John Brown and his racial cause, but he has also thrown exceptional light on the cultural, racial, and political climates that altered "the Old Hero's" image in America over the course of fast-changing times."--Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Richard J. Milbauer Emeritus Professor of History, University of Florida, and author of The Shaping of Southern Culture: Honor, Grace, and War, 1760s-1880s
"John Brown has mesmerized and polarized Americans for 150 years, speaking in different tongues to black and white, North and South, left and right. Gilpin dissects both the man and the myth to show how clashing visions of race and reform have shaped memory of Brown in every era. Provocative and illuminating, this book should be read by anyone who cares about Brown, the legacy of slavery, and the use and abuse of history in America." -Tony Horwitz, author of Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War
" John Brown Lives! deserves a place on that shelf of must-reads for professional and armchair readers alike who share a fascination with the long afterlife of the unquiet soul of America's most famous revolutionary." - The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"To read Gilpin's volume is to be overwhelmed by the unrelieved opportunism that, from every spot on the political spectrum, has found in John Brown the perfect vehicle for partisan gain." - Journal of American Studies
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, September 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
From his obsession with the founding principles of the United States to his cold-blooded killings in the battle over slavery's expansion, John Brown forced his countrymen to reckon with America's violent history, its checkered progress toward racial equality, and its resistance to substantive change. Tracing Brown's legacy through writers and artists like Thomas Hovenden, W. E. B. Du Bois, Robert Penn Warren, Jacob Lawrence, Kara Walker, and others, Blake Gilpin transforms Brown from an object of endless manipulation into a dynamic medium for contemporary beliefs about the process and purpose of the American republic. Gilpin argues that the endless distortions of John Brown, misrepresentations of a man and a cause simultaneously noble and terrible, have only obscured our understanding of the past and loosened our grasp of the historical episodes that define America's struggles for racial equality. By showing Brown's central role in the relationship between the American past and the American present, Gilpin clarifies Brown's complex legacy and highlights his importance in the nation's ongoing struggle with the role of violence, the meaning of equality, and the intertwining paths these share with the process of change.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: Cause and Consequence
John Brown in Nineteenth-Century Americap. 1
Some Definite Plan
The Early Life of John Brownp. 9
The Final Arbiter
Bleeding Kansas and the Creation of the Old Herop. 17
Not Buried but Planted
Cultivating the Legend of John Brownp. 32
A Saint in Suspense
Competing Visions of John Brownp. 55
Discrimination and Destiny
John Brown and the NAACPp. 79
The Soul Rests
Stephen Vincent Benét and the Silencing of John Brown's Bodyp. 106
The Fugitive Imagination
A John Brown for the Old Southp. 120
Revising Kansas
John Steuart Curry and the Fanaticism of John Brownp. 144
Together Under Arms
Jacob Lawrence Paints Black Historyp. 158
Epilogue: Climax and Harbinger
A Life as a Common Causep. 181
Notesp. 197
Bibliographyp. 247
Indexp. 265
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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