145 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln was shot while attending a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. The four year Civil War was coming to an end with General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Confederate Army, dashing dreams of glory for one particularly dangerous Confederate, John Wilkes Booth. It was that fateful night that Booth, an admired and well-known actor, freely walked into the theater box and shot Lincoln in the back of the head.
While many of us know this story of the sixteenth president’s assassination well, we are less familiar with the following twelve-day manhunt for Lincoln’s assassin. James Swanson’s Chasing Lincoln’s Killer is an exceptionally researched day-by-day account of the chase and capture of John Wilkes Booth. It vividly tells how Booth evades capture and details the actions of his accomplices, complete with historic pictures, newspaper articles, letters and more. This book, written for young readers, is actually based on Swanson’s adult book, Manhunt: The 12- Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, an Edgar Award winner for the best true crime book of the year. Both are nail-biting reads, even if you do know the outcome, and worth checking out, whether or not you know much about this time in history.