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Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 7, 2006
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The Greatest Manhunt in American History
For 12 days after his brazen assassination of Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth was at large, and in Manhunt, historian James L. Swanson tells the vivid, fully documented tale of his escape and the wild, massive pursuit. Get a taste of the daily drama from this timeline of the desperate search.
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Top Customer Reviews
shot with a derringer by John Wilkes Booth (1838-April 26, 1865) in a murder most foul!Booth came from the most renowned acting family America. He was a superb actor, rake and handsome man who favored Southern Independence, hated the blacks and viewed Lincoln as a tyrant. Booth killed Lincoln after several earlier kidnap schemes went awry.
As an avid Civil War buff and student of the Lincoln assassination this is one of the two best books on the murder of the railspliter. The other great book on this topic is Edward Steers.Jr's classic "Blood On the Moon."
This book is not as dry as Steers book and could serve as the basis of a motion picture or better yet mini-series on the horrific event.
In great detail Swann tells us what really happened on the 12 day flight by Booth and his fellow conspirator David Herold on their flight to the Garrett family barn near Port Royal, Va. where Booth was shot to death by Sergeant Boston Corbett and
Herold was captured. (Herold along with George Atzerdot; Mary
Surratt and Lewis Powell would die on the scaffold on July 7, 1865.
Powell had sought to kill Secretary of State Seward in his bed where he was recovering from a painful carriage accident. He failed. George Atzerodt failed to even try to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson living in the Kirkwood Hotel.
If you want to excite a young person in American history this is a wonderful place to begin. Swann can write well and simply about complex events regarding the assassination. Finishing this book I have a new respect for Secretary of War Edwin Stanton who led the manhunt for the killers.Read more ›
First, in a sense, "Manhunt" might not be the best title, because while it does chronicle the 12-days that Booth was on the run, it is largely told through his eyes, not those of his pursuers. So maybe "Flight" or "On The Run" might give anyone who hasn't read it a more accurate idea of the narrative.
Second, the author clearly takes generous liberties in filling in the thoughts and motives of everyone involved, especially Booth, to the point where the reader has to wonder whether the narration has crossed the line from non-fiction to fictional novelization.
Put the two together, and you have the bigger issue -- a jarringly sympathetic portrait of Booth. Which is not to say that Booth didn't have sympathetic qualities or even believe in actions were justified. He surely must have. But I found too often, especially as the book wears on and the narrative becomes even more focused on Booth, that the author brushes aside his obvious flaws - among them his extreme bigotry, violent streak, hot temper and consistent deception of friend and foe alike - to paint him as something of a martyr. As the book nears its close, the author really seems to go all in, depicting Booth's pursuers as incompetent glory seekers and Booth... well, I'm telling the truth here, there's actually one passage in which a character who helps authorities is compared to Judas and another passage with a direct comparison of Booth to Jesus as he lay dying and tended to.
Again, there's much to like about this book and I recommend reading it. But since so many people have given it such sterling (5 star) reviews, I thought I would try to communicate a bit about what bothered me about the narrative. It's very good, but can't see it as 5 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
Pretty much everyone has some knowledge of Lincoln's assassination but the story of what happened afterwards is... Read more
An engrossing work that places the reader withing the actions of history. A wonderful book.Published 15 days ago by Gabriel
I like the attention to detail. I learned a great deal about this period. It was obviously author did a lot of research. Read morePublished 24 days ago by educator
Reads like a novel! Everything you ever wanted to know about the escape and capture of Lincoln's assassin.Published 27 days ago by Mrs. B
Excellent book, I learn so much of the truth. I grew up with all myths that I was taught in school. A must read if you are interested in the Lincoln and Booth saga.Published 1 month ago by marge dempsey
One of my absolute favorite reads. I keep buying the book, loaning it out and never getting it back. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Melissa B
I enjoyed this tremendously. It's a bit of history unknown to most of us, but is in many senses a very important part of the story of President Lincoln and his times. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Marc L. Carter
Manhunt is an exciting account of a heinous conspiracy. It fully captures the twisted thinking behind the crime, the mixed feelings of those abetting the criminals and the still... Read morePublished 3 months ago by On the Level