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American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Russell Banks, 1 of 5

Part of John Brown's Holy War Interviews.


Banks talks about Early life - hand to mouth, tough existence, Early life - stories of Bible resonate, children die, Religion - Life of 1830s - 50s continuation of Bible, Religion - John Brown believed life a moral test, shaped destiny, Southern Power - think North more likely to secede, Pottawatomie - seems to be defining moment, Southern Power - expanding to West, Caribbean, etc. , "It looked bleak, it looked very bleak", Religion - Biblical and contemporary history merged, Religion - John Brown saw himself as walking in Biblical shoes, Sons - modern men, doubters, John Brown didn't question truth, Farmer - John Brown agrarian man, physical world, of Bible, Man of times - we judge him, Sanity - white Americans today regard John Brown as a fanatic, Owen/Death of John Brown's Mother, Death of Mother - important, John Brown said defining trauma, Personality - rage, identified w/ Blacks' sense of loss, Relationships w/Blacks - trusted him, matched anger, Personality - where did rage come from, Personality - charisma, intensity, emotional furnace, Slave Boy Story, Slave Boy Story true? enough that John Brown believed it, Slave Boy - as orphan, John Brown identifies, Slave Boy - equally clever, John Brown identifies as orphan, Shepherd - John Brown's gift, could care for animals, Shepherd - brought affection he rarely showed humans, Shepherd - link to the Bible (Abraham, Christ) ennobling, Shepherd - custodial relations, men part of his flock, Personality - contradiction authoritative/custodial

License Clip
American Experience
John Brown's Holy War
Program Number



Interview with author Russell Banks, 1 of 5

Series Description

As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award.

Program Description

Martyr, madman, murderer, hero: John Brown remains one of history's most controversial and misunderstood figures. In the 1850s, he and his ragtag guerrilla group embarked on a righteous crusade against slavery that was based on religious faith -- yet carried out with shocking violence. His execution at Harpers Ferry sparked a chain of events that led to the Civil War.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Robert Kenner (Producer)
Banks, Russell (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Rights Summary

Rights Holder: WGBH Educational Foundation

Chicago: “American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Russell Banks, 1 of 5,” 2000, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed July 8, 2020, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_13546133A89A466DB13E1EDA6C654C63.
MLA: “American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Russell Banks, 1 of 5.” 2000. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. July 8, 2020. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_13546133A89A466DB13E1EDA6C654C63>.
APA: American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Russell Banks, 1 of 5. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_13546133A89A466DB13E1EDA6C654C63
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