Terrible Swift Sword
The Legacy of John Brown

Edited by Peggy A. Russo and Paul Finkelman

“There’s fresh material, fresh perspective, and more.”

Peter Wallenstein, author of Blue Laws and Black Codes: Conflict, Courts, and Change in Twentieth-Century Virginia

“[I]n the spirit of revisiting Brown, Paul Finkelman and Peggy Russo have edited a diverse and intriguing new volume that takes its place at the top of a significant pile of writing on the Old Man from Osawatomie.... This is one volume that makes an important contribution to that ongoing conversation.”

The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

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 in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, were major catalysts for the American Civil War, and continue today to evoke praise or 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 contributors discuss reasons why Brown’s contemporaries supported him, analyze Brown’s behavior and his depiction in literature, and examine the iconography and mythology surrounding him.

The interdisciplinary focus brought by editors Peggy A. Russo and Paul Finkelman makes this collection unique. Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown will appeal to a broad audience of readers interested in this turbulent moment in American history.

Peggy A. Russo is an assistant professor of English at the Mont Alto campus of Pennsylvania State University. She has published in Shakespeare Bulletin, Southern Literary Journal, Journal of American Culture, Shakespeare and the Classroom, and Civil War Book Review.

Paul Finkelman is an expert on constitutional history, the law of slavery, and the American Civil War. He coedits the Ohio University Press series New Approaches to Midwestern Studies and is the president of Gratz College.

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American Civil War



Retail price: $29.95, S.
Release date: Jan. 2005
272 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World




Release date: Jan. 2005
≅ 272 pages
Rights: World