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Apr 14 2010

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

by Nancy M

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.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe M. April 14, 2010 at 5:06 PM

For more on the topic of presidential assassinations, Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell is another good non-fiction read available in our catalog, with lots of interesting info about early presidential assassinations in the United States

Cameron May 24, 2010 at 12:28 AM

What was Gen. Lee’s reaction to Lincoln’s assassination? I can’t find any info on this.
Thank you.

Jesse M June 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Cameron, this section of the wikipedia article on John Wilkes Booth mentions that “Robert E. Lee…expressed regret at Lincoln’s death by Booth’s hand”. The source is cited at the bottom of the page which you should be able to use as a starting point for further research. I hope that helps!

Joe January 7, 2011 at 4:51 AM

To be honest I agree with Boths killing of Lincoln, Lincoln was going to let the physcopath General Sherman to do a cold blooded massacare of the south, any man who lets that happen needs to be killed. Also Lincoln was not a slavery hater as he said “If I could save the Union without freeing any salve I would do it”.

Rose October 7, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Do you really believe that? It is so out of context (see link for full context of the letter). Lincoln’s letter to Hon. Horace Greeley was example of his Lincoln’s desire to maintain unity. He didn’t want to let them go. The alternative would be the USA and Confederate States of America (CSA). Can you picture that in the 21st century? CSA would still have slaves in this modern world when we are so above this now and worried about free speech, women’s rights, and so much more.

Stacey April 13, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Joe doesn’t know much about history!

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