MINE EYES HAVE SEEN by Ann Rinaldi

MINE EYES HAVE SEEN

Age Range: 12 - 15
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 John Brown spent the summer before his quixotic 1859 raid on the Harpers Ferry arsenal secretly marshalling men and weapons on a nearby farm, with two women, one his 15-year-old daughter Annie, to keep house and present the appearance of normality to prying eyes. Spinning Annie's character from sparse contemporary accounts, Rinaldi (The Second Bend in the River, p. 63, etc.) fleshes her out as a severe young woman who shares her driven father's strong-mindedness, loving and hating him with equal intensity. Aware of her father's few successes and many failures in life, Annie watches him and the two dozen followers he gathers come to terms with the fact that many of them are about to die. The author sticks closely to the record, inventing few if any characters or events (although Brown anachronistically refers to his band as ``Young Turks''); Annie recalls her family's struggles and her father's exploits as an anti-slavery militant in Kansas, then describes the Harpers Ferry raid in bitter, clinical, death-by-death detail. There are parallels here with modern episodes of vigilantism, but the author's real focus is on a daughter's relationship with her iconic father, and in the end she becomes his witness. It's a powerful story, and for readers who find the large cast hard to keep track of, Rinaldi recapitulates in an afterword, and appends a bibliography. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-590-54318-0
Page count: 274pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997




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