Industrial Deals GG Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Ed Sheeran egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Get Ready for the Winter Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer minions minions minions $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Black Friday Deals BestoftheYear Outdoor Deals on HTL
My Thoughts Be Bloody and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Unbeatable customer service, and we usually ship the same or next day. Over one million satisfied customers!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 19, 2010

86 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Deckle Edge
"Please retry"
$3.66 $0.01
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Family dysfunction brings down a president in this lively if feckless historical melodrama. In her debut, Titone, a historical researcher, says almost nothing about John Wilkes Booth's plot to kill Abraham Lincoln, focusing instead on his backstory and (speculative) psychological motivation. The tale has vibrant leads, including Booth's father, Junius Brutus Booth, a famous tragedian and raging alcoholic, and his domineering brother Edwin, the biggest stage star of the Civil War era. Then there's John Wilkes himself, a narcissist and hilariously bad actor--Titone regales readers with scathing reviews--whose good looks and hammy onstage swordplay drew crowds. The author's sketchy theory of Lincoln's assassination puts it at the confluence of John's self-dramatizing vanity, romantic identification with the underdog South, and sibling rivalry; she presents the murder as a coup de théâtre that finally lets John upstage Edwin. Although overstuffed with digressions, Titone's account paints a colorful panorama of 19th-century theatrical life, with its endless drunken touring through frontier backwaters and showbiz pratfalls. Neither deep nor tragic, her John Wilkes is oddly convincing: the first of the grandiose hollow men in America's cast of assassins.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

If one chooses to do so, one could probably discover a complex of personal demons that supposedly motivated every lone political assassin. So Oswald was acting out his frustration over his failures as a husband and political activist. Sirhan Sirhan was seeking relief from loneliness rather than striking a blow for Palestine. And so on and so on to the point of absurd psychobabble. Yet, given the limitations inherent in such efforts, this is actually a very well-done examination of the trials and tribulations of a remarkable family. The family patriarch, Junius, was a heralded Shakespearean actor, an alcoholic, and an often emotionally abusive parent. His favored son, Edwin, was generally regarded as the greatest American actor of the nineteenth century. Then there was poor John—desperate for his father’s approval, intensely jealous of his brother, and frustrated by his reputation as a mediocre performer. Titone does a fine job of contrasting the personalities and even the acting styles of the brothers. Her portrait of Edwin as a decent man haunted by his brother’s act is often moving. --Jay Freeman

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416586059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416586050
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #859,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Fink on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of books about the Booths, and I have to say, this is one of the best. I love this book. Hats off to Nora Titone; she has really done her work. Nora has masterfully researched and unearthed clues about the complex inner workings and circumstances that led two brothers along opposite paths during the time of America's greatest upheaval. One brother, whose allegiance was with the north, a supporter of President Abraham Lincoln and became the foremost actor of his time; the other whose allegiance was with the south to the point of obsession, struggled as an actor and assassinated the President, branding the Booth name forever in infamy.

In My Thoughts Be Bloody, the fascinating cast of characters who helped shape Edwin and John Wilkes' drives and ambitions are thoughtfully explored, beginning with their turbulent tragedian father, Junius Brutus Booth. This is the story of a family in turmoil, and it reads like a novel. Why did the two brothers compete with each other to the point of becoming bitter rivals leading to disaster? I believe this book persuasively answers that question and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Booths, the Civil War, American history, or just a great story.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Scott Blaker on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"My Thoughts Be Bloody", whose title is taken from a line in Shakespeare's "Hamlet", is an absolutely fascinating examination of the lives of an American acting dynasty. The Booths - father, three sons, son- and daughter-in-law - comprised the most influential, yet notorious, family of thespians in 19th century America. Nora Titone has mined hundreds of sources to chronicle the multiple rises and falls of this historic clan in surprising detail. It reads in part like one of the classic tragedies for which the Booth men were famous, and in part like one of the overdrawn melodramas of the age. In an America still small enough that nearly all citizens of note circulated within a relatively small universe, Edwin and John Wilkes Booth contested each other for favor, wealth and social standing. The interrelationships between the players on this stage are entirely engrossing. And as John's fortunes falter while Edwin's star rises, Titone leads us step-by-step to the well-known climax - and the less-familiar final curtain.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Gary T. Johnson on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Lincoln bicentennial generated literally hundreds of new books, and, in the end, very few genuine surprises. The surprise here is that the relationship of the two famous Booth brothers is such an obvious subject, yet we knew so little about it. Think of this: A third-rate actor who is the brother of possibly the world's most famous actor stages an episode literally out of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." How did this come about? It turns out that their father, too, was a famous actor, but his messy family life on two continents was guaranteed to promote insecurity on top of sibling rivalry. Nora Titone makes great progress with her subject, and I highly recommend this book, but, in the end, questions of motivation can only be somewhat speculative.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Nora Titone has written a wonderfully readable biography of a family, and of one, mad, act. The "family", is the Booth family and the "act", of course, was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth.

British actor Junius Brutus Booth fled London with his common-law wife, Mary Ann Holmes in the early 1830's for the United States, where his fame preceded him. He took to the life of the itinerant actor, all up and down the eastern seaboard, presenting the Shakespeare villains to theatre audiences who appreciated his acting. While Junius was on the road, Mary Ann was home, birthing and raising ten children in relative poverty. Of the four sons who reached adulthood, three were actors. Two, Junius Jr and John Wilkes were middling at best and were never overly successful, while son Edwin became the foremost actor and producer of his generation. Junius Sr died early, leaving Edwin, who had long accompanied his father on the road as an aide (mainly to try to keep him sober enough to take the stage) to claim the Booth mantle. And seize it he did, a true acting talent.

As with any family, fissures appear as personalities begin to show themselves. Having received the lion share of the acting talent, Edwin was not above belittling his brothers while supporting the family monetarily. For oldest brother "June", his mediocrity didn't seem to bother him; he made a living and a life for himself. However, younger brother John Wilkes had inherited his father's looks without inheriting his talent, and he was on the edges of the acting profession. He resented Edwin his success, without knowing or acknowledging the long years of preparation Edwin had put in while his father's understudy.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have read quite a bit about brothers Edwin and John Wilkes Booth. However, Nora Titone's My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy is the most well written and comprehensive book yet to be written about the actor-brothers.

Any book about Edwin and John Wilkes Booth must begin with their father. Junius Brutus Booth was one of the best Shakespearian actors in Britain, and his life had more high-drama than any play in which he starred. In 1821, he left behind a wife and young son to travel to America with his pregnant mistress. He settled down on a farm in Maryland, where he and mistress, Mary Ann Holmes, produced ten children. Junius took to drink, which made him erratic and undependable when touring. With so many children to care for, Mary Ann sent 12-year-old Edwin to serve as caretaker for his father. At the same time, Edwin learned his father's craft from the master. By the time Edwin was 17, he replaced his father playing Richard III and the torch was passed.

Meanwhile, while Edwin was on the road, John Wilkes remained at home where he was pampered and spoiled by his mother. As a teenager, John Wilkes made the decision to become an actor. Although he had no formal training, he had rugged good looks. Edwin was well established as an actor by this time, so he set the ground rules for his younger brother. "Edwin split the map of the United States in two, practically along the Mason-Dixon Line as it turned out, though his intentions had everything to do with business and not politics. Each brother, Edwin said, would claim one region in which to practice his profession, with the understanding that neither would cross into the other's territory.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews