In Raising Holy Hell, his novel about John Brown, Bruce Olds makes the reader ask: How should a person act if directly faced with the inhuman system of slavery that brutalised and killed millions? And, more uncomfortably, could extreme individual violence as exemplified by John Brown's actions be justified in seeking to hasten the end of slavery years before the advent of the American civil war? While vividly imagining through diary entries and historical documents the personality of John Brown and his impact on those who knew him, as a reader who just happened to stumble on this remarkable book I am most grateful to Mr. Olds for bringing into focus and making real the myriad repercussions that slavery had on our society and the individuals it affected. He does justice to real people whom he lets speak to us through his novel (apart, perhaps, from his portrait of Abraham Lincoln), including, among others, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. Perhaps most shocking are the inclusion of statements by judges and various "founding fathers" of the USA in support of slavery. Highly recommended for anyone interested in these human questions or this historical period. A remarkable book that also causes the reader to reevaluate their own response to present-day issues which are even now costing the lives of thousands.