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The Town That Started the Civil War by Nat…
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The Town That Started the Civil War

by Nat Brandt

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The Town That Started the Civil War by Nat Brandt

★★★

Premise: a little-known event that occurred in the college town of Oberlin, Ohio, a stop on the Underground Railroad. Slave-hunters incurred the resentment of the townspeople, a wrath that came to a boil one day in August 1858 when runaway slave John Price was abducted by these bounty hunters. Outraged, Oberlin College professors and students, in company with white and free-black townspeople, rescued Price and hid him in a faculty house, an initially abortive deliverance that would later, after many machinations, prove successful--although 37 of the liberators would be indicted for violating the Fugitive Slave Act.


This is a book that I felt had a great story premise but did a poor job of actually writing it. Even though it was less than 300 pages this book took me well over 2 weeks to read. One would think that such an interesting and such little known part of history could be made more exciting to read. But it wasn’t. The whole book just seemed like one big quote and a bunch of “and then this happened, and then this happened” – I often only got a few pages in before falling into a deep sleep. Names are thrown at you left and right, there was just no way to keep up with everyone the author mentions – although he nicely adds a list at the beginning of who everyone is, and it’s quite the list. I think this book would have been better if it had focused on some key players instead of every person that maybe, perhaps had something to do with it. There are photos but they don’t always correlate with what is going on. A random picture of a man may be found on a page, it takes awhile to realize that said man was mentioned many pages before and 20 people before, leaving you to scratch your head. Perhaps I am missing something since from the few reviews I found, people enjoyed it greatly but I just could not get into it. I gave it three stars for its attempt at a little known subject matter and also that is wrapped up so nicely.
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  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
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