Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer Kindle

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer Kindle How the heck did Swanson manage to make this very well known story so riveting I mean, everyone knows that UNNECESSARY SPOILER ALERT MOSTLY JUST FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE SPENT YOUR LIFE LIVING IN A CAVE President Lincoln was assassinated at Ford s Theater by stage actor John Wilkes Booth.Everyone with a lick of American history learnin has heard the story Most also know that Booth was subsequently caught, and yet Manhunt is genuinely exciting You have to admire a writer who can enliv How the heck did Swanson manage to make this very well known story so riveting I mean, everyone knows that UNNECESSARY SPOILER ALERT MOSTLY JUST FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE SPENT YOUR LIFE LIVING IN A CAVE President Lincoln was assassinated at Ford s Theater by stage actor John Wilkes Booth.Everyone with a lick of American history learnin has heard the story Most also know that Booth was subsequently caught, and yet Manhunt is genuinely exciting You have to admire a writer who can enliven dusty old history, like Frankenstein animating a corpse Granted the book isn t riveting from start to finish Sections here or there were drawn out a bit, I suspect in order to add a fewpages to a tale that is essentially straightforward The actions of the event and those surrounding it are few There s the evening of the president s assassination as well as that of some of his cabinet members, and then it s just a search for the killer s for a few days and finally a quick shoot out I m honestly impressed how the author kept the pace up almost through out I mean, I m having trouble keeping up the excitement just in this short review A fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal A gripping hour by hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you ve never read it beforeThe murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth From Aprilto April the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve day chase through the streets of Washington, DC across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness At the very center of this story is John Wilkes Booth, America s notorious villain A Confederate sympathizer and a member of a celebrated acting family, Booth threw away his fame and wealth for a chance to avenge the South s defeat For almost two weeks, he confounded the manhunters, slipping away from their every move and denying them the justice they sought Based on rare archival materials, obscure trial transcripts, and Lincoln s own blood relics, Manhunt is a fully documented work and a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal A gripping hour by hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you ve never read it before NO SPOILERS Countless books have been written about Abraham Lincoln but far fewer about his assassin John Wilkes Booth As someone who s uncomfortable with books devoted to criminals, I think this is just as well however, to provide a complete history of Lincoln, Booth cannot be ignored entirely Manhunt is a thorough, carefully researched account of this man, a staunch supporter of the Confederacy who d been plotting against Lincoln for a long time before finally shooting him on April 14, NO SPOILERS Countless books have been written about Abraham Lincoln but far fewer about his assassin John Wilkes Booth As someone who s uncomfortable with books devoted to criminals, I think this is just as well however, to provide a complete history of Lincoln, Booth cannot be ignored entirely Manhunt is a thorough, carefully researched account of this man, a staunch supporter of the Confederacy who d been plotting against Lincoln for a long time before finally shooting him on April 14, 1865 Lincoln died the next day Prior to reading Manhunt, I knew exactly three things about Booth that he was an actor, that he shot Lincoln in Ford s Theatre while Lincoln watched a play, and that he broke his leg while escaping He was a cardboard villain and I didn t realize that anyone ever found him fascinating On that, I was very wrong As author James L Swanson said in the acknowledgements Special thanks to a Southern friend who, after insisting on anonymity, disclosed her family s secret custom ever since April 15, 1866 the first anniversary of the murder they have held their annual cotillion on that day to celebrate the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and to honor their Brutus.and further, in the afterword Booth s fame is of a peculiar kind Booth was reviled as a fiend during the manhunt The newspaper editorials, letters from private citizens, mob violence, and the treatment of his body are proof enough of that Yes, in some quarters there were those who hated Lincoln and admired Booth, but the devotees of the cult of Our Brutus dared not express public sympathy for the assassin Then, over time, something changed Booth became part of American folklore and his image morphed from evil murderer of a president into fascinating antihero the brooding, misguided, romantic, and tragic assassin Booth is not celebrated for the murder, but he has in some way been forgiven for it What else can explain the presence of large street banners, decorated with the assassin s photo, hanging from lampposts along his F Street escape route, directing tourists to Ford s Theatre In comparison, the display of Lee Harvey Oswald banners in Dallas, or James Earl Ray banners in Memphis, would be obscene.After finishing this book, I have a multi dimensional understanding of this despicable man and of how people felt and still feel about him The hunt for Booth was complicated and very frustrating for the manhunters As he attempted to escape to the deep South, Booth was helped by many Confederate sympathizers, somewilling than others He had several co conspirators and Lincoln wasn t the only political figure plotted against Booth and his co conspirators had an ambitious plan that fortunately fell apart.Swanson s research is impressive, as is to be expected considering he s a Lincoln scholar, specifically concentrating on the assassination As he explains in the afterword, he has been fascinated by this since he was ten years old and received, what I consider a disturbing but that Swanson calls unusual, birthday gift from his grandmother a framed engraving of Booth s Deringer pistol Although I admire Swanson s research and detailed account especially in how he brought to life the fringe characters no one thinks about , I was at times uncomfortable with the tone Swanson wrote this in the third person, but the understanding is that the reader is often, but not always inside Booth s mind therefore, Lincoln gets labeled a tyrant and the Confederacy is viewed as something admirable and the sympathizers who help Booth noble All the while, Swanson never implied that Booth s actions should be condemned That isn t to say that Swanson actually admires the man, but if I didn t know what the author s all about, I could ve mistaken this book as a commendation of Booth At the very least, Manhunt has an underlying sympathy that leads me to believe Swanson feels Booth issomeone people should try to understand than outright condemn I most definitely disagree Booth was a madman, a famous, very arrogant actor totally obsessed with fame and being admired In murdering Lincoln, he wanted to forever be remembered as a hero who died for my country I enjoyed every page of Manhunt, but I also have mixed feelings about it For its ability to make Booth and 1865 come alive and the exhaustive detail and Swanson s research, this historical true crime is, however, deserving of praise and its Edgar Award It s a page turner that I d never have read had it not been recommended to me I m tired of being inside Booth s deranged mind, though, and won t seek outbooks about him I suggest reading Manhunt backwards That way, when you get to the end, Lincoln hasn t been fatally wounded, Mary Todd hasn t tottered over into madness and that poor couple of horses haven t been shot and sunk in the swamp.Seriously though, this account of JW Booth s capture is worth reading The drawback is sometimes the writing lays it on too thick It works effectively at the beginning the assassination itself, for example, is gripping And since Booth was an actor, the Shakespearian allu I suggest reading Manhunt backwards That way, when you get to the end, Lincoln hasn t been fatally wounded, Mary Todd hasn t tottered over into madness and that poor couple of horses haven t been shot and sunk in the swamp.Seriously though, this account of JW Booth s capture is worth reading The drawback is sometimes the writing lays it on too thick It works effectively at the beginning the assassination itself, for example, is gripping And since Booth was an actor, the Shakespearian allusions aren t necessarily out of place, but it all grows uncomfortably corny as the story goes on It s awkward enough when historians and biographers start imagining what people might have been thinking When they start to dramatize those imagined thoughts, it makes for a real eye roller.While Booth and his accomplice were seeking sanctuary on the Easter weekend after the assassination, the author writes In the early hours of Black Easter, Booth and Herold sought their salvation, not in church, but at the door of a faithful Confederate If Cox turned them away, Christ s dying words on Good Friday s cross, it is finished, would describe their fate Did you groan I did Granted, Booth entertained a grand vision of himself Still, the author needn t humor him I love this author and I m trying to read every book by him, so of course I needed to read this one and I am so glad I did James is a fantastic writer that writes for all abilities and understandings A fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal A gripping hour by hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you ve never read it before.The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history the pursuit and capture of Joh I love this author and I m trying to read every book by him, so of course I needed to read this one and I am so glad I did James is a fantastic writer that writes for all abilities and understandings A fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal A gripping hour by hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you ve never read it before.The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness Lincoln was murdered by John Wilkes Booth, who was an actor He threw away his fame and wealth for a chance to avenge the South s defeat For almost two weeks, it turned into a manhunter, because he was always one step ahead of the police James used rare archival materials to help him write this book It was fantastic and I suggest it to everyone This was positively Shakespearean Not in the poetry, but in the sheer drama of it The plotting, the conspiracy, the murder Swanson does a terrific job of cobbling together a stunningly complete and compelling narrative of Booth s time on the lam while armies hunted for him, all from interviews with the subjects, court transcripts, newspaper accounts, and other books written by those involved at at the time He reveals the roots of Booth s motivation, and his ego, along with that of his co con This was positively Shakespearean Not in the poetry, but in the sheer drama of it The plotting, the conspiracy, the murder Swanson does a terrific job of cobbling together a stunningly complete and compelling narrative of Booth s time on the lam while armies hunted for him, all from interviews with the subjects, court transcripts, newspaper accounts, and other books written by those involved at at the time He reveals the roots of Booth s motivation, and his ego, along with that of his co conspirators and those who hunted them all Just a great yarn here.Just before I finished it, I was in Washington, DC, and while I d never much thought of it before, this time I couldn t resist a walk up 10th Street to Ford s Theater, where Lincoln was shot It was closed for renovations But just across the street is the narrow home where Lincoln was taken just after he was shot to avoid the ignominy of dying in such an immoral venue as a theater, and on Good Friday at that The room where Father Abraham died was about the size of the newsroom cubicle I share with my editor.One final observation One of the subtler revelations of this book is the intimacy of Washington in Lincoln s time In Swanson s description, it was like a small town where everyone knew everyone and could approach anyone Only some of the residents happened to be the President, the Secretary of State, the Vice President, the Secretary of War People would call to Lincoln from the White House lawn, and he would open a window and give a quick speech All that stands in stark contrast to the barricades on Pennsylvania Avenue today.Of course, it was what happened to Lincoln that spoiled that small town intimacy, and all the trust that went with it Manhunt is a dramatic but factually accurate and well rendered non fictional account of John Wilkes Booth s flight following Lincoln s assassination.While the book is impeccably researched and stays true to its detailed coverage of Booth and his young assistant, it does struggle to maintain consistent threads on the other co conspirators For example there was quite a bit of coverage on the simultaneous assassination attempt of Secretary of State Seward but we heard little about Powell in the la Manhunt is a dramatic but factually accurate and well rendered non fictional account of John Wilkes Booth s flight following Lincoln s assassination.While the book is impeccably researched and stays true to its detailed coverage of Booth and his young assistant, it does struggle to maintain consistent threads on the other co conspirators For example there was quite a bit of coverage on the simultaneous assassination attempt of Secretary of State Seward but we heard little about Powell in the latter half of the book even though he was at large Secondly I think it would have been best to subdivide and label the chapters pertaining to the different assassins narratives At times it was confusing trying to follow the flights of five different assassins Finally as far as criticisms, the book could have usedthan a short epilogue on the subsequent trials and execution of the co conspirators and why some were not prosecuted, executed etc Above all, the literary quality in Manhunt is quite good, hardly a given for a non fiction writer, while the history itself provides all the drama a writer could ask for This book is similar to Hellhound, the story of the manhunt for James Earl Ray, MLK s assassin I would give the nod to Hellhound as the better book but Manhunt is still worth reading One of my favorite non fiction reads of all time Thrilling and full of surprising facts about the events and characters involved. I had always known since schooldays that John Wilkes Booth had assassinated President Abraham Lincoln but I had no idea of the background and the follow up to his action Manhunt most certainly clears that little matter up for it is a stupendous account of the 12 day chase for the killer as well as setting the scene for the deed and giving later detail about what happened to the various key locations in the story.Once begun it is difficult to put down, for the action rolls on and on without let I had always known since schooldays that John Wilkes Booth had assassinated President Abraham Lincoln but I had no idea of the background and the follow up to his action Manhunt most certainly clears that little matter up for it is a stupendous account of the 12 day chase for the killer as well as setting the scene for the deed and giving later detail about what happened to the various key locations in the story.Once begun it is difficult to put down, for the action rolls on and on without let up, so much so that it reads like a thriller with something startling on page after page.James L Swanson has captured the characters admirably, covers the geography superbly and the action intensely Booth made a thrilling retreat from Ford s Theatre and then had some narrow escapes before he finally made it to Virginia where he thought that he would be safe how wrong he was.As the author says in one of his notes, which are not too intense and do lend themselves to being read at the back of the book, it is not an encyclopedia of the assassination but it is certainly a dramatic account of the events of 14 to 26 April 1865 on an hour by hour, day by day basis Thoroughly recommended I enjoyed the book and learned ever so muchabout that point in our history than I ever did in school I appreciate the accounts were taken from primary sources, newspapers and other research for that reason I haveconfidence in the intrepretation by Swanson I certainly recomend it for people who learned a light version of the events, like myself, and have a curiosity as to what could drive a person to assassinate a president.

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