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Chasing Lincoln's Killer Hardcover – February 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 980L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439903548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545204705
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The YA version of Swanson's bestselling Manhunt, this account of Lincoln's assassination and the 12-day search for his killer reads like a historical thriller, no matter that the narrative jumps among its locations and characters. As President Lincoln delivers victory speeches in April 1865, an enraged John Wilkes Booth vows death: "Now, by God, I'll put him through." Every bit of dialogue is said to come from original sources, adding a chill to the already disturbing conspiracy that Swanson unfolds in detail as Booth persuades friends and sympathizers to join his plot and later, to give him shelter. The author gives even the well-known murder scene at Ford's Theatre enough dramatic flourish to make the subject seem fresh. While Lincoln lays dying, Booth's accomplices clumsily attempt to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Booth talks his way past a guard meant to bar him from crossing a bridge into Maryland. In focusing on Booth, the author reveals the depth of divisions in the nation just after the war, the disorder within the government and the challenges ahead. Abundant period photographs and documents enhance the book's immediacy. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5 Up—This volume is an adaptation of Swanson's Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (HarperCollins, 2006). Divided into 14 chapters and an epilogue, the sentences are shorter and chapters are condensed from the original but the rich details and suspense are ever present. Lacking are a bibliography and a notes section. Excellent black-and-white illustrations complement the text. Devoted to the South, John Wilkes Booth had planned to kidnap Lincoln and hold him hostage, but when that plan did not materialize, he hatched his assassination plot. Co-conspirators in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia helped him escape and evade capture for 12 days before being surrounded in a barn and killed. Readers will be engrossed by the almost hour-by-hour search and by the many people who encountered the killer as he tried to escape. It is a tale of intrigue and an engrossing mystery. With the approaching bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, this is a most welcome addition to all libraries.—Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

James L. Swanson is the author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. He is an attorney who has written about history, the Constitution, popular culture, and other subjects for a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, American Heritage, Smithsonian, and the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Swanson serves on the advisory council of the Ford's Theatre Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Campaign and is a member of the advisory committee of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Customer Reviews

The story follows John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin.
David Nox
Swanson does a great job keeping the interest of the reader with story lines, chilling pictures and historical information throughout the book.
B. Durham
I found the book very well written and a fascinating read for young and old alike.
Lawrence D. Zeilinger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Cunningham VINE VOICE on October 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If any historical account for youth should get six stars, it is *Chasing Lincoln's Killer* by James Swanson. Written for ages 12 and up, this book moves at a quick pace and is chock-full of details that I had never seen before, my introduction to the subject having been a *You Are There* account of John Wilkes Booth by Walter Cronkite in the 1950s. Teachers, students, and homeschoolers will find this a valuable illustrated resource. Swanson has done a great job of making this historical account read like a novel. It includes dialogue, but all words and sentences in quotation marks are the actual words of eyewitnesses and participants whose works served as primary sources for this book. Atmosphere is included, but only that which would be apparent to a writer who put himself into the scene to imagine it. For example, the smells inside Surratt's tavern are listed as "wax, candles, oil lamps, tobacco, burning stove wood, whiskey, dirty clothes, and leather boots"--realistic details that help readers to place themselves in the company of the fleeing Booth and co-conspirator David Herold. Another plus is that Swanson does not take cheap shots at Mary Todd Lincoln or Boston Corbett, whose personal quirks are often used as grist for writers about Lincoln. Published by Scholastic Press, the book has ancillaries including a reading group activity guide, an educational poster, and downloadable activities on the publisher's web site. This book will grab the attention of any reader and spark interest in this great historical event. I myself am motivated now to read Swanson's New York Times bestseller, *Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer* on which *Chasing Lincoln's Killer* is based.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anne Masterson VINE VOICE on November 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Chasing Lincoln's Killer" is an adaptation of James L. Swanson's book "Manhunt" for young adults. Although I am far from a young adult, I enjoyed it so much I ordered the adult version.

As we all learned in basic history class, Abraham Lincoln was shot at the Ford Theater by John Wilkes Booth. What I (and I daresay many others) didn't know was there was a significant conspiracy to take down the entire government which was also supposed to happen that fateful evening. The author explains this in such a fascinating way it reads like a novel. Then, after the assisination the hunt is on for Booth and the others.

This book is listed for ages twelve and up and I would heed that as there are someone graphic depictions of the wounds suffered by Lincoln and their subsequent treatment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W. C HALL VINE VOICE on November 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In "Chasing Lincoln's Killer," James Swanson vividly brings to life one of the saddest and most dramatic episodes in the history of the United States--the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the 12-day search for his killer, John Wilkes Booth. Swanson, who has been fascinated by Lincoln since childhood, told this story in "Manhunt," a New York Times bestseller, and he's now used his extensive research to retell the story for a younger audience. This book is aimed at the young adult (middle and high school) audience, but could serve as a great introduction to this story for readers of any age. The book is generously illustrated with period photos, drawings and artifacts, which work with Swanson's dramatic narrative to bring the events of April 1865 to life for the reader. -William C. Hall
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on November 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The target audience for this adaption of MANHUNT is listed as 7th grade and up. That 'and up' goes quite a way up - this reviewer has a Bachelor and most of a Master degree in history and learned many things about this tragic chapter in US history. Swanson covers the subject from the days leading up to the assassination to the capture and trials of the conspirators.

The factors leading up to the event, personalities and motivations of those involved and the final fates of many of the major figures are all covered in a clear, easy to read and understand manner. That is not to say however, that this is in any way a 'dumbed down' version. Swanson has given this the same meticulous attention to detail and scholarship that marks his work intended for adult readers. There are numerous illustrations, photographs of those involved, reproductions of newspaper accounts, broadsides etc that bring the written text to life. Additionally there is a convenient list at the beginning of the book of all those involved, quite helpful for classes who will be reading the book over a period of several days.

This book could be given to a student who is particularly interested in this subject for independent study or used by a class for both a unit on the Lincoln assassination and an introduction to historical research.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Diehl on April 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is great for just about anyone interested in the real story of what happened to the President. As you read it you really feel as if you are present as everything is happening and they do a great job going into detail of everything that was around, discussions that were made, etc, and there are also some very interesting photographs which I had certainly never seen before, which makes this book a winner all around!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on March 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"The crowd gasped when they saw Lincoln being carried out of the theater. They swarmed and surrounded the president. Leale, the doctors, and soldiers cradling the dying president halted. Where should they take Lincoln? Leale scanned the street for a refuge. Straining his voice to be heard by a sword-bearing officer, he shouted a command. Take the president straight across the street and into the nearest house. A soldier crossed ahead, pounding on the door, demanding entry.
"In view of the horrified mob in the street, Dr. Leale pulled another blood clot from the hole in Lincoln's head to relieve the pressure on the brain and tossed the gooey mass into the street. Fresh blood and brain matter oozed through Leale's fingers.
"When Leale was halfway across the street, soldiers on the other side yelled that the house was locked and no one answered the door. The scene was incredible, impossible! Stranded in the middle of the muddy street with no place to go, the president of the United States was dying in the presence of a mob of hundreds, perhaps a thousand, witnesses."

It was no small feat to bring together a thousand witnesses in those days. It was such a relatively small US population. Imagine if nine out of every ten people around you instantly disappeared. That would give you a good idea of how many people lived in the US at the end of the Civil War. Nevertheless, I still cannot get my mind around how in those days "almost anyone could walk into the Executive Mansion without being searched and request a brief meeting with the president." This, at a time when countless citizens of the defeated Confederacy were actively plotting revenge against Lincoln, horrified by his push for equality for African Americans, and blaming him for the loss of their former way of life.
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