In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, I re-post this article on the subject–one of the first I wrote for this blog, years ago.
Recently I decided to dust off my favorite book about Lincoln and give it another read. It is, in fact, probably my favorite non-fiction book. Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson recounts the story of the Lincoln assassination and the hunt for John Wilkes Booth in such extraordinary detail. Anyone with an interest in Lincoln or the Civil War has to read it.
Perhaps the best thing about the book is that Swanson weaves together so many first-hand accounts. We see, in minute-by-minute detail, what happened that night from a great variety of perspectives. Peripheral figures, hitherto obscure, emerge as part of the story and we get a sense of the widespread hysteria and panic that took place that night. At the same time, we are introduced to remarkable figures who kept their cool and performed small acts of heroism. Unfortunately…
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