Through a Glass Darkly: The Skewing of John Brown in the 20th Century
|Unfortunately, as his writing suggests, Gregory |
A. Stiverson, Historic Annapolis Foundation president,
cannot see John Brown with clarity. Is this due to lack
of real research,or is it just plain old prejudice?
I have often pointed out that serious students of John Brown must work harder than the biographers and scholars of any other figure in U.S. history, because no historical personality in this nation is so beset by prejudice, misinformation, and the skewing of facts than is “The Old Man” of Harper's Ferry. Over the past forty years, many U.S. historians and writers have ostensibly been content to work from one authoritative text, To Purge this Land with Blood (1970) by Stephen Oates. While Oates’s book is a solid work of scholarship, it is hardly sufficient to represent the life and legacy of John Brown the man who lived and died; it has only been in this first decade of the 21st century that the “John Brown bookshelf” has begun to fill out with a number of thoughtful, researched, and fair-minded biographies and biographical studies. [This complete entry is available only in the forthcoming book, John Brown: Emancipator]