Every Monday at 1 p.m., The Mike Slater Show features the Biographer of the Week, during which Slater poses the same question to every guest: what are three characteristics of this person you've written about that best define them and how can we apply those characteristics to our lives?   

This week Slater welcomed biographer David Reynolds, the author of "John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights," which tells the story of a controversial abolitionist who used violent tactics to combat slavery. Reynolds highlights how Brown’s violent acts were inspired by the slave revolts, guerilla warfare, and revolutionary Christianity of the day. This biography showcases how Brown seized public attention, polarizing the nation and fueling the tensions that led to the Civil War.  

As Reynolds tells Slater in this audio clip, he identifies Brown's three major characteristics as: his deep belief in human equality, his unflinching courage and his way with words.