Author Russell Banks, who is no stranger to seeing his novels get the Hollywood treatment (The Sweet Hereafter, Affliction), is anticipating another adaptation of one of his books. As the Keene, New York resident reflects on the 20th anniversary of his book Cloudsplitter, a fictionalized text about the abolitionist John Brown and his family, he’s serving as executive producer for a mini-series based on his work.

“Spotlight” producer Paul Larson discusses the compelling novel with the author, and its translation to the TV screen.

“Spotlight” is made possible, in part, by the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park. Spotlight is also supported by Hill & Hollow Music.

This story was produced during our celebration of the Great American Read with support from the following: 

  1. Banks begins the interview saying that the facts of John Brown’s war on slavery are not in question — then he says there is a racial divide on whether Brown (and his entire family) were heroes or terrorists. He offers James Baldwin and Malcolm X as examples of those who do view Brown as a hero. Then, in unequivocally naming Brown a terrorist, Banks arrogantly places himself on the side of “right” along with “most whites”

    This is how the mis-telling of history is done to support and protect a historical “white is right” construct. The Pottawatomie whites who were “massacred” by Brown’s militia were themselves pro-slavery terrorists (burning abolitionist newspapers and waging war on the Free State Hotel where abolitionists fought slavery with WORDS)

    Yet Author Russel Banks paints Brown’s freedom fighters as the immoral ones. Ugh.

    AMAZING how selective memory allows Banks to forget that the Kanas territories were first inhabited by the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kansa, Kiowa, Osage, Pawnee, and Wichita and it was white TERRORISTS who were in process of violently stealing it (while calling the natives “savages” ) and these same whites were concurrently fighting to bring enslaved Africans into Kansas with them. Give me a friggin BREAK!

    JOHN BROWN and his family are HEROES — May this misguided mess of a miniseries be DOA.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yes, I would like to receive emails from Mountain Lake PBS. Sign me up!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Mountain Lake PBS. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact