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Alias "Paine": Lewis Thornton Powell, the Mystery Man of the Lincoln Conspiracy Library Binding – September, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0899508740 ISBN-10: 089950874X

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 247 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (September 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089950874X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899508740
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,065,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lewis Paine (born Lewis Thornton Powell) ensured his "15 minutes of immortality" when he clumsily and unsuccessfully attacked Secretary of State William Seward as part of the wider Lincoln conspiracy. Paine has often been dismissed as a near-feebleminded dupe who was sucked into the conspiracy because of his childish belief in the Southern cause and his worship of John Wilkes Booth, but Ownsbey shows him to have been reasonably intelligent; numerous acquaintances described him as attractive and charming. Paine was the son of a Florida minister and had an uneventful, even "normal," childhood. His devotion to the Southern cause seems to have grown out of deeply held political beliefs, and his stoicism and dignity during and after his trial won the admiration of some Union officials. Yet, Paine remains somewhat of an enigma, since there are huge gaps in his life (such as his actions after he left active military service in 1863), and here Ownsbey can only speculate. As a historical character, Paine doesn't jump off the page, perhaps because he lacked the flash, verve, and mania of other notable assassins, but Ownsbey has added to assassination lore with a solid piece of research. Jay Freeman

Review

"a solid piece of research" -- Booklist/RBB

"a thoroughly credible job" -- Lincoln Herald

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Customer Reviews

A.C. Richards) Robinson, beautifully puts it that the Lincoln Assassination is "America's Greek Tragedy".
j. Garrett
The book is very well researched and full of surprises about a man that usually comes too short in other works concerning these events.
EZ
It goes farther than any other I've read to answer those nagging questions one may have about this most mysterious man.
Barry Sharpe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amanda L. Harding on November 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In all of the books i have read regarding the Lincoln assassination, this is by far my favorite. Lewis Powell is a murky character that was largely left in the shadows by other books, except for the occasional reference that was just enough to clearly show he was fascinating, and had a story of his own. This book did not disappoint at all! Every question i had in the back of my mind when reading about this man in other books was answered in this book. The author managed, even over the span of years separating us from the time, place, and events that occurred, to make Lewis seem alive, and utterly interesting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By beckyhallas on January 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's interesting to read the rather bitter and nasty comment on here posted by someone who clearly has a case of the old Sour Grapes. This book is excellent in every way. The author has spent years researching her subject, and her handling of this historical character is at once informative and sympathetic and takes the reader on a journey that is free from boring prose and long winded lists of facts, and treats the whole story with real empathy for this person. If some see that as anything other than an effort to bring to light the human side of this man, then the majority of the positive reviews on this book speak the opposite of that perception.
This book is about Lewis Powell... and shows him as a multi faceted person, with flaws and strengths, bringing into the light facts lain dormant for nearly a century and a half. Too often, books of this kind are written with a cold, almost pedestrian style that leaves the reader forever outside looking in. In Alias, Paine, we are drawn in and start to feel that we are a part of this person, and in spite of his terrible crime, we realise that he was just a young man who made mistakes and willingly paid the price, not some cold blooded killer or monstrous psychopath. Drawing on evidence from many sources, including eye witnesses accounts of his bravery, courage and stoicism in the face of what he did and the dire consequences as result of his part in the Lincoln Assassination, the journey proves a riveting read and one which was well worth the price of this book. I hear there is soon to be a second edition packed with more information, and I'll be purchasing that too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wade A. Carpenter on July 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting, well researched look at a Lewis Powell, a man history has dismissed as a moronic slasher. In some ways admirable, in some ways tragic, and in some ways criminal, Powell was a good soldier who probably was sent on a horrific last-gasp assignment by the Confederate Secret Service. It was too late to do any possible good for their cause, and Powell was probably smart enough to understand that. But he did his duty as ordered. Ms Owensby gives a reasonably balanced account of a courageous soldier on the wrong side of history. The only suggestion I would make would be that she could've given some accounts of the battles in which Powell participated prior to his wounding at Gettysburg. While she correctly avoids retelling battle narratives that have been written a hundred times or more, details of Lewis Powell's units' actions in those battles might have illustrated his character better than the pleadings of hostile attorneys in a hostile court settling a foregone conclusion for an enraged public. Owensby does pretty well with Powell's service with Mosby's partisan rangers, the forerunners of Delta, Seal Team Six, the SAS, and the Sayeret Matkal, but that too might have been usefully expanded. She is a good writer, and probably could've included these details without getting bogged down. But she stays very close to the documented history, and does a fine job with it. Perhaps it would take a novelist's touch to really explore the soul of a special operative sent on a useless mission, facing shameful death, but doing his duty faithfully even though it could only bring dishonor, in an age when honor still mattered.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Photo on December 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
After reading many books that have Lewis Powell segregated to the level of a footnote, it was refreshing to finally read something that takes the time to make a more careful evaluation of his life and character.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By j. Garrett on February 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Few books written about the Lincoln Assassination have brought to life, the participants of this event. Historical interpretor Michael (Supt. A.C. Richards) Robinson, beautifully puts it that the Lincoln Assassination is "America's Greek Tragedy". Here is the often overlooked or misunderstood Powell brought to life in an era we can hardly understand. Many authors use a 21st century perspective on a time and event that is difficult to put into a modern context. Most books present an inaccurate portrayal of this co-conspirator. Owensby has done an oustanding job helping the reader understand the man, the event and the times. Three cheers for "Alias".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By EZ on January 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was the book that inspired my continued interest in Lewis Powell and sparked my journey into the world of Lincoln's assassination. The book is very well researched and full of surprises about a man that usually comes too short in other works concerning these events. Many things about his life surprised me, since they did not reflect the common misconceptions of his character which portray him as a "mindless brute", particularly accounts of him as a child or as a caring nurse in an army hospital. Well done, Ms. Ownsbey!
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