The Secret Six: John Brown and the Abolitionist Movement, including Notes, Bibliography, and Index, 375 pages.
(First Edition, New York Times Book Co., 1979. Second Edition, The Foundation for American Education, 1987, as The Secret Six: The Fool as Martyr. Third Edition, Uncommon Books, Seattle, Wash., 1993, as The Secret Six: John Brown and the Abolitionist Movement.)
Unlike previous biographies of John Brown, this is the first to look at the rich men who funded his attack on Harper's Ferry. It looks into their backgrounds and personalities, their associations with Emerson, Thoreau, and other Transcendentalists, and places them not on the fringe, but in the center of the Abolitionist movement.
In the process, antebellum New England takes on a new and more interesting aspect than the whitewashes of the past. This is history as it was, not as it is taught by the winners of the Civil War.
First published by Times Books in 1979, The Secret Six elicited the following comments (among others):
"The author's thesis is that John Brown and the cabal of eminent Massachusetts clergymen, literati and wealthy businessmen, the Secret Six, who encouraged and financed him were pioneers in a use of terror that in our day has come to plague the world: the idea that killing even innocent people is moral if it serves a greater good." The New Yorker
"...Scott's accomplishment is considerable, and worth studying, not only as a signal contribution to the bibliography of terrorism, but as a vivid and penetrating account of an awful phase of our history." Norman Corwin in The Los Angeles Times
"Thanks to Otto Scott's energetic and intricate account of past delusions of righteous grandeur, terrorism may not in the future be so easy to rationalize away." Dr. Gordon M. Pradl in Chronicles of Culture
"If Scott's thorough study of the halfsecret movement behind John Brown receives the attention it deserves . . . there will be less adulation, even in liberal and radical circles, of a 'reformer' as mad and merciless as any 20th century terrorist. And there should be some reassessment of the famous Northern abolitionists who made mad Brown their tool." Russell Kirk.
"Among other distinctions, John Brown is the only known massmurderer in American history to be remembered as a national hero." M. Stanton Evans.
Now an underground classic for its "incorrect" perspective but eminently correct historical accuracy, this is the definitive book on the exemplar of modern political terror (the practice of murdering helpless and innocent people to make a political point) and the physical origins of the Civil War.Price: $138.43
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