3.89 (3,674 ratings by Goodreads)
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This brilliant recounting of the events surrounding John Brown's legendary raid on the armory at Harpers Ferry is a masterpiece of modern American storytelling that will be remembered as the crowning achievement of Russell Banks' celebrated career. Russell Banks' gift for creating compelling stories populated by gritty and startlingly realcharacters has resulted in such acclaimed masterworks as "Continental Drift," "The Sweet Hereafter" and his most recent bestseller, "Rule of the Bone." Now Banks takes on one of American history's most misunderstood figures, John Brown, whose October 1859 raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, crossed the line from civil protest to armed struggle, prefiguring the greatest conflagration in this country's history. Narrated by the enigmatic abolitionist's son Owen, the novel dazzlingly recreates the fractured political and social landscape of pre-Civil War America, when slavery and talk of secession were tearing the country apart. But "Cloudsplitter" is about much more than one man's quest for political change and social justice. It is a moving and powerfully told story of fathers and sons, of racial conflict and division, as well as an intimate portrait of 19th-century family life. Rich in incident and exquisite detail, "Cloudsplitter" is the novel that will elevate Russell Banks to the highest rank of 20th-century American authors.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 768 pages
  • 137.16 x 198.12 x 45.72mm | 544.31g
  • HarperPerennial
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0060930861
  • 9780060930868
  • 562,030

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Back cover copy

A triumph of the imagination and a masterpiece of modern storytelling, Cloudsplitter is narrated by the enigmatic Owen Brown, last surviving son of America's most famous and still controversial political terrorist and martyr, John Brown. Deeply researched, brilliantly plotted, and peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters both historical and wholly invented, Cloudsplitter is dazzling in its re-creation of the political and social landscape of our history during the years before the Civil War, when slavery was tearing the country apart. But within this broader scope, Russell Banks has given us a riveting, suspenseful, heartbreaking narrative filled with intimate scenes of domestic life, of violence and action in battle, of romance and familial life and death that make the reader feel in astonishing ways what it was like to be alive in that time.
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Rating details

3,674 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 31% (1,140)
4 39% (1,440)
3 21% (776)
2 6% (219)
1 3% (99)
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