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it's both the last thing is this isn't a large part of the problem i think the notion of losses so i lost this is absolutely critical that really is key to understanding who john brown was i am i suppose to what john brown did or what he may mean who he was as a candidate i think comedian understood only in the context of personal loss loss after loss of the loss his whole life he
lost his mother at that age of update purple loss that monologue who knows what sort of impact and that had gone on him it must have been terrible idea from where he'd you'll be at it was desperately to become prime minister and ngos or islam in ohio and travels east as accepted in the divinity school and made it with water yeah another failure because bach started terry goes belly up another failure mary's loses their first wife as she dies another loss greece ireland twenty children twelve of whom died a natural death loss of the loss of the loss it involves itself in
any number of business enterprises each of which is a more miserable failure than the next ends up hundreds of thousands of dollars and in debt claire to bankrupt on more than one occasion yeah to edit it prior to use going up to kansas and at the age of fifty five without was it his life was just one disappointment one heart at how one disaster after another and i really feel understand though why he did what he did you have to understand this thing waltz that runs throughout his life the sarin the hardship i think in the process it's conceivable
that there was perhaps up in a sense ah ha and the mascot question that may have occurred on i mean to the colloquial expression john brown was a loser he needed to do get a life and that i believe that as much as anything else is the reason that he went at the kansas to read dean himself to reclaim it himself i may be making too much of this odd i think i think not his whole life was lived i am caught in this context of loss and failure and bitter bitter disappointment
it's big so the question about the many stories that job least related that's child and one thing very well in the tournament they were the things you want to tell us is that the point but i think the fact that he was reared on the frontier was a frontier that tiny little hollow but this is the first decade of the nineteen century and simply being reared on the frontier in an environment and surroundings when or harsh
of a hardscrabble existence of life or this parody battling elements wrestling with survival china carver hack that some place to be that's that was the larger context of his childhood was hard was hard life was hard and some forty five years later in a single doctor to have the commentary that there remains he related some childhood stories to a song unbeliever of luther stearns and the anecdotes they chose to include it in this letter also around again loss of one sort or another he he they had a marble which was precious to him as a keepsake and he somehow lost that he relates in this in this letter for homeless pocket he had a good eight pat
you i believe it was and then you die despite his best efforts i believe he enjoys hoisted on liked me nursing this animal a hole in it and as it is lived and and yet and yet it died these kinds of stories i am forty five years later he's looking back and and this is where jesus i had to talk about it as just another example i think are any may be utterly unconscious that he was doing this by dwelling on this sense of loss and it's something that stayed with him i believe his whole life and not feeling quite at home in the world and not feeling quite comfortable in his own skin living against the grain as it were life was a
struggle what was always a struggle and this world with other natural home he said i'm a home on high by which i assume he meant some form after like heaven but here you know our earthly existence so it was hard it was hard and it was full of love was bitterness and disappointment strike and discord in that that seemed a natural to him to struggle because an ongoing strike well as a day to day moment to moment struggle to hold on to oneself to achieve anything worthwhile and the swirl of life had done by him badly and i think he felt that i think it got to a point
with the recovery and actually nothing to lose any more one feels that was deliberate he voted no stake in the status quo and to because of that so badly by him he tried and tried and tried to make his fortune or have family to live a quarter growth more normal or commercial assistance and work out and become kansas there was as opportunity to go and to accomplish something out of the way what about that nascent us
on there or eccentric or even the portal and review for years and if you can talk about that that supposed to little pieces that would've we can use a canoe one and we were counted i am the owner of john brown's father we clearly think so and importance john ruff father i believe is is it his father's abolitionism that's what he and gave up to his son insofar as we know that seems to be most significant as father was as he put it a died in the wall abolitionists he was a pate a regular
reader of flipped your sins limerick the newspaper and he exposed to sun to have not indoctrinated him in the tenets of abolitionism that at least it is what this is is something that john brown seemed to internalize arm beyond that you probably hear it is it certainly seems that when he refers to his father later years and in his letters that when his father's become an old man certainly always speaks of him respectfully i am but i don't i mean i'm not qualified to say whether or not the law moved to his father whether his father loved him
or whether they were close those are tough words mr parsi you're welcome whether you accept his first wife's death and moves on or appears to me that is just that it's another thing is from his way the harshness of his life right brian and they get i mean it is first wife donna believe it was so i think they've been married for eight years for some reason it seems to me it was it was eight years i think that they had ten children together and she can
she'd she'd all i'd she's lost him sometime before that because i think she adds what we would call it in every sport don't arm bought of course the harshness of the frontier and an end and losing children or losing loved ones home i don't know that you can say he lost his wife and just moved on i believe it i think it was probably something that registered quite deeply with him it just was one more piece of evidence more confirmation that light headed in for him and and certainly that attitude would
American Experience
John Brown's Holy War
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Interview with author Bruce Olds, 1 of 3
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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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. Olds talks about Loss - life of failure, Kansas to redeem himself, Loss - anecdotes in letter, religion, nothing to lose... Kansas, Father - "dyed in the wool" abolitionist, Dianthe - her death confirmed that life had it in for John Brown
Race and Ethnicity
American history, African Americans, civil rights, slavery, abolition
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Chicago: “American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Bruce Olds, 1 of 3,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 20, 2020,
MLA: “American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Bruce Olds, 1 of 3.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 20, 2020. <>.
APA: American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Bruce Olds, 1 of 3. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from