A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown's War Against Slavery

Albert Marrin. Knopf, $19.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-307-98152-3
National Book Award finalist Marrin adds to his acclaimed collection of history books, and while the subject of this latest—fervent abolitionist John Brown and his efforts to end slavery in the United States—is not easy to read about, Marrin's narrative style is entirely accessible. Nine chapters effortlessly bridge topics that include Brown's upbringing, the global history of slavery, the “peculiar institution" (as slavery was known in the pre–Civil War south), and the legacy of Brown's actions. Marrin sets out “to place this man within his world and then to see how he helped bring about the most terrible conflict in American history," and he accomplishes that and more. The book winds down with Brown's execution, the Civil War, and President Lincoln's assassination, and a final chapter raises thoughtful topics for discussion. Should people in a lawful society follow the law or their own conscience? Was John Brown a martyr, a terrorist, or both? Archival photos, maps, and documents break up lengthy sections of text, and an index, notes, and suggestions for further reading are included. Ages 12 –up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/24/2014
Release date: 04/08/2014
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 244 pages - 978-0-307-98153-0
Open Ebook - 302 pages - 978-0-385-75340-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-307-98154-7
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