Lorenzo Walker Tech HS & Institute of Tech

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Off the Shelf 0708-14

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

By James L. Swanson
Audiobook read by Richard Thomas
© 2006

I didn't think I would like this book - after all, how interesting could it be to trace the events of the hunt for John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abe Lincoln in 1865? And, I'm relatively certain that I would not have read the text version, but Richard Thomas (of The Walton's fame) read it to me...and I was 'under the spell' of this story. Not only did I enjoy the detailed account, but I learned a lot, as well. Swanson, a member of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, is well-versed in the assassination in the Ford Theater and, though he was a bit repetitive, he shares his knowledge and expertise well.

From our lessons in history, we know about the assassination and a little about the assassin, but did you know that

  • Booth had fellow conspirators?
  • in his escape on a waiting horse, Booth breaks a leg, thereby influencing his escape plans?
  • Booth was an actor from a well-established family?
  • the manhunt was unknowingly prolonged by both Confederate soldiers and Union calvary alike?
  • Booth's persuasive personality convinced many to 'aid and abet' him and his cause?

Using primary documents (to include Booth's diary and newspaper accounts), Swanson's believable account takes you into the mind, heart and soul of Booth. His website provides supplemental resources, as well. This historical reading is well worth your time!

My recommendation: 4 out of 5 stars
Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist

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