NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
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PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST AND BESTSELLING AUTHOR, TO DISCUSS HIS NEW BOOK ON THE ABOLITIONIST JOHN BROWN
NYS Writers Institute, November 17, 2011
The Research New York Conference
7:30 p.m. Reading/Discussion | Clark Auditorium, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany
Tony Horwitz, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of several nonfiction bestsellers, including Blue Latitudes (2002) and Confederates in the Attic (1998), will discuss his new book, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War (2011), as part of the 2011 Researching New York Conference, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, November 17, 2011, in the Clark Auditorium of the New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center, Madison Ave., in downtown Albany. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by UAlbany’s Department of History, the NYS Archives Partnership Trust, the NYS Writers Institute and NYS Museum. For additional information on the Researching New York Conference go to: http://nystatehistory.org/researchny.
Tony Horwitz, the featured speaker for the 2011 Researching New York Conference, will discuss his new book, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War (2011).
On October 16, 1859, John Brown, with eighteen men, seized the massive U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), freeing and arming slaves, and vowing to liberate every bondsman in the South. Brown’s shock attack split the nation and plunged it toward bloody war. Yet few Americans know the true story of this pivotal event and the abolitionist who’s been called a hero, a madman, a saint, and a monster.
Horwitz traces Brown’s unlikely rise from farm boy to revolutionary. He also introduces the remarkable cast brought together by Brown’s magnetism and moral fervor, including his love-lorn teenage daughter; a freed slave desperate to liberate his wife from bondage; a dashing poet who spies inside Virginia; and a Harvard-educated schoolmaster who organizes a secret group to supply money and guns.
Kevin Boyle, writing in the New York Times Book Review, called the book,“A hard-driving narrative of one of America’s most troubling figures...,” and said, “Horwitz describes the disaster in riveting detail.... It’s impossible to read this fine book without thinking about modern-day Browns.” Historian James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom, said, “Tony Horwitz’s gifts as a vivid narrator of dramatic events are on full display….”
John Brown’s connection to New York State began in 1848 when he purchased land in the Adirondacks for the purpose of resettling poor Black farmers. Brown is buried on his farm in North Elba, NY, which is now a National Historic Landmark.
Four books by Horwitz have been national and New York Times bestsellers: A Voyage Long and Strange (2008), Blue Latitudes (2002), Confederates in the Attic (1998)and Baghdad Without A Map (1991). He is also the author of The Devil May Care (2003), a collection of fifty tales about the unsung heroes of American history.
A former staff writer for the New Yorker, and a former war correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Horwitz received the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for a 1994 Wall Street Journal article about dead-end “growth” jobs in the new American economy, including assembly-line workers at chicken processing plants, nursing home aides, and “dirty MuRFs”— workers who retrieve recyclables while standing waist-deep in heaps of raw trash.
Sponsored by UAlbany’s Department of History, the NYS Archives Partnership Trust, the NYS Writers Institute and NYS Museum. For additional information on the Researching New York Conference go to: http://nystatehistory.org/researchny.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.