• L. E. Berry

Soon I Will Be Done

Historical Fiction

My next novel (historical fiction):

Soon I Will Be Done

The Long Lost Journals of

Osawatomie John Brown


As a 1977 graduate of Osawatomie High School in Kansas, I grew up learning about the “crazy” abolitionist, John Brown, and tales of his battles with pro-slavery forces. His was considered traitorous behavior by most of the histories I read. Every school day I walked past his commemorative statue and the Adair Cabin and museum in John Brown Park. Growing up in “John Brown Country,” I learned about the intelligence, wit, and humanity of the man beyond the conventions of recounts written by less than reliable or hostile sources.

The following chronicle is derived from a long-lost collection of John Brown's journals, eleven of which were found among the Samuel Adair Historical Archives at the Osawatomie City Library in 1974. Additional materials, including letters, notes, and photographs were graciously made available to me by the local newspaper, The Osawatomie Beacon.

Why does John Brown merit a fresh narrative?

The radical abolitionist, John Brown, as subject matter, elicits outright hostility from those who are familiar with the history presented in our country. I found it fascinating that views on him have devolved from the Union Army's perspective Brown as a martyr and the inspiration of troops (His Truth is Marching On), to the Confederacy's take that he was a dirty and illiterate, insane madman.

A colleague, when I presented an early chapter to one of my critique groups, described John Brown as "a dead man in search of a noose". Soon I Will Be Done is my attempt to display a fuller life through his actual writings and correspondence. I also intend to show, through the lense of a fictional narrative, that our perspective on John Brown should be more than that of a "a dead man in search of a noose". Jeez...

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