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'The Good Lord Bird' is a twisted take on an abolitionist's story
John Brown, the white abolitionist who sought to free black slaves with the barrel of a gun, is a recurring character in American literature. He's one of the ghosts that haunt Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead," and he's the messianic, brooding prophet at the heart of Russell Banks' epic "Cloudsplitter." In the post-Civil War memoir of his contemporary, Frederick Douglass, Brown is a brave, principled man, with a plan to start a slave uprising that's plainly suicidal.
By Hector Tobar
August 30, 2013