On an October night in 1859, 21 men staged a takeover of a national armory in tiny Harpers Ferry, Va. Though unsuccessful, the raid drew the nation's attention to its electrifying leader, a man named John Brown — and set the nation on the path to war.
Brown went on to become perhaps one of the most polarizing figures in American history. The devout Calvinist and abolitionist is remembered as a traitor and terrorist by some, and a hero by others.
Historian Tony Horwitz, joins NPR's Neal Conan to discuss his book, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War.