At last, we have a judicious and thoroughly unbiased account of Mary Surratt's involvement in the assassination of Lincoln. Professor Larson goes to great lengths to give Mary the benefit of the doubt. Court records and trial transcripts are gone over with a fine tooth comb proving what many have surmised for years: Mary was a willing co-conspirator who allowed all of the conspirators, including Booth, to use her boarding house and tavern at Surrattsville, as a meeting place for planning the death of Lincoln. There are new tidbits of information concerning Mary's inept lawyers, if you can call what they did, practicing law. Yet, even with their obvious stupidity, what was revealed by the witnesses, indicate that Mary was not the pious, innocent boarding house keeper she pretended. Even the Catholic clergy brought in as character witnesses, couldn't vouch for much; many didn't even know her that well.
The evidence exists that President Johnson did receive information regarding a stay of execution for Mary, but with all the evidence, it is obvious that he had no choice but to let the matter proceed.
It is only in the afterglow of the hangings, that public furor over the execution of the first woman by the federal government, increased to a rising crescendo, egged on by Southern sympathizers.
Highly recommended, I would only suggest that the author, in a revised edition, include an extensive bibliography that would better assist those who are new to this area of Civil War study.