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Readings and Ramblings

This is Readings and Ramblings. It is readings because this is a site for blogging about books and I intend to do that. It is ramblings because I might want to write about something else now and then.

John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights - David S. Reynolds I learned quite a lot from this book. I have heard of John Brown all my life and, of course, I knew about the massacre of slavers in Kansas and the raid on the arsenal in Harper's Ferry and bits and pieces of his life, but there were a lot of details that I was unaware of. This book fills in a lot of the gaps. The details on the Harper's ferry raid were especially illuminating. John Brown was about as racism and sexism free as anyone could be. This was at a time that even the most ardent abolitionists were convinced of the inferiority of Black people even if they didn't think they deserved to be enslaved and the feminist movement did not see past just achieving suffrage. Brown did not just write and make speeches advocating his views either. He lived them every day of his life. He befuddled Black people by treating them as equals and with respect when white people never did that. He even allowed Black people to set the direction of much of his movement. This all was despite the fact that he was strongly religious too. I recommend this book to today's progressive militants. I do not recommend it because of any lessons on Brown's strategy and tactics. If I was going to recommend it on that basis it would be because of what might be learned from his mistakes -- primarily his adventurism -- but the mistakes he made have been made many times by others who were willing to fight for their causes and there are much better sources to learn about that, especially because the author of this work was not concerned about transmitting such lessons anyway. I recommend it for the inspiration it provides by being the story of a very dedicated freedom fighter and the great sacrifices -- including giving his life -- he was enthusiastically willing to make for the fight for freedom.