A surprise winner at this year's National Book Award, James McBride's latest novel takes on the story of abolitionist John Brown's doomed raid on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry. In this satirical tale, the young narrator is a boy mistaken for a girl and taken into Brown's retinue. Onion, as he's nicknamed, gets a front-seat view of history as Brown plans his raid, meeting Frederick Douglas, Harriet Beecher Stowe and other well-known historical figures. We speak with McBride about the novel, as well as the band he formed to play music that inspired Brown.
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From "The Good Lord Bird" by James McBride. Copyright © 2013 by James McBride. Reprinted by permission of Riverhead Hardcover.