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The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln Hardcover – November 17, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing; 1 edition (November 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594160716
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594160714
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Was evidence of a plot to murder Abraham Lincoln as he traveled through Baltimore en route to his 1861 inauguration genuine, or was it a product of detective Allan Pinkerton’s imagination? Historians have been divided on the issue, but to author Kline, a lawyer by occupation, a conspiracy case based on circumstantial evidence can be made, and he makes it in exacting but fascinating detail. For dramatic support to his legal briefs, Kline recounts Lincoln’s train journey, climaxing in a scene in which Lincoln must decide whether to credit Pinkerton’s report of having infiltrated a conspiracy and to heed Pinkerton’s counsel to alter his travel schedule through Baltimore, then a secessionist hotbed with a reputation for mob violence. It was a second, independent source of intelligence that convinced Lincoln to accede to Pinkerton, which also buttresses Kline’s conviction that the plot was real. Gathering inculpatory information, arguing its probative value, and re-creating the tension of the secession crisis, Kline will absorb Lincoln readers with his thorough presentation of Lincoln’s surreptitious arrival in Washington, which Lincoln himself subsequently regretted. --Gilbert Taylor

From the Publisher

"In a thrilling detective story of conspiracy, treachery and assassination, Michael J. Kline suggests how close the Baltimore plotters came to achieving their goal, and reveals how Lincoln and a few guards outwitted them. Meticulously researched and written with verve, The Baltimore Plot takes readers aboard Lincoln's inaugural train for a perilous and unforgettable journey."--JAMES L. SWANSON, author of the Edgar Award-winning New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

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Customer Reviews

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The Baltimore Plot is brilliant in its presentation.
CHRIS E. HEISEY
Finally, for anyone that simply enjoys a well-written book regardless of the subject matter, this one is for you.
Chris
This book crackles with drama and its characters are fresh and human.
Robert A. Lynn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chris on January 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There is nothing not to like about this book. The combination of exhaustive background research and the author's keen writing ability creates a historical drama that captures and keeps your attention throughout. There is something here for everyone. For history buffs, you will be engaged by the well-researched discussion of such an important time in our country's past. For those who enjoy legal drama, this book does not disappoint. The author leads you through the conspiracy evidence in a thought-provoking manner, such that you are the ultimate judge and jury on the critical issue of whether the conspiracy actually existed. As a lawyer myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the book. Finally, for anyone that simply enjoys a well-written book regardless of the subject matter, this one is for you. We should all keep our eyes out for more writings from Michael Kline.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Michael J. Kline has written an engrossing, detailed account of the events surround presiden-elect Abraham Lincoln's danger-laden journey to Washington for his inauguration in 1861. And he presents a persuasive case that there was indeed a plot (or plots) to kill Lincoln before he could reach his destimation, most especially as he traversed the city of Baltimore. The case cannot, at this distance in time, be proven beyond any doubt, but I think that Kline lays out a case that should dispell reasonable doubt on the part of anyone with an open mind on the subject.

Kline does not stop with the events of 1861, but carries on the story of connections between the 1861 conspirators and the eventual assassination of Lincoln in 1865 by John Wilkes Book. Again, a persuasive, but necessarily less than airtight case, is made that the connections were real, and that Booth's plot was not hatched in 1864 in a vacuum. Kline's work fits readily into recent scholarship that rejects the traditional portrait of Booth as merely a crazed individual, but places him in a larger context of secret operations and plots.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By CHRIS E. HEISEY on January 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Baltimore Plot is brilliant in its presentation. Evocatively written and endnoted completely, this book is first rate. Of course, as with all history there is some speculation on the writer's part; but, I for one find those parts fascinating and the questions offered add greatly to the book.

The section on Lincoln's secret leave of Harrisburg, PA, is wonderfully rendered by Mr. Kline.

What a terrific book!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joseph V. Salvucci on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book was a captivating documentary about Lincoln and the men who were with him and the men who were against him. Kline lays the ground work for the law defining the conspiracy then goes on to place you in the middle of the conspiracy as well as to place you in the middle of Lincoln's balancing game - of his plan to travel to his inaugural vs. the strategy of Pinkerton to keep him alive during the process. Underlying the plot the reader is placed in the mid 1800's immersed in the politics of Lincoln's election, more specifically in the politics of the region including Maryland and more specifically that of Baltimore. The book is written from many different perspectives: people, politics and the law - it is as though Lincoln and the Plot is sitting in the center of a diamond and you are viewing him and the Plot through the window of each facet, and at a different angle throughout the book - It is truly ingenious to view Lincoln and the Plot in this comprehensive manner.

To me though - the most important point of the entire book to me was the picture that was painted that answered the historical question as to the real reason WHY Booth shot Lincoln at Ford's Theater.
For this reason, I consider this Book a Historical compilation that is a must read for every American.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Civil War Librarian on March 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Are you familiar with 24 a TV show that's been on for about seven seasons? Keifer Sutherland plays Jack Baurer, an action hero with a big Internet and satellite team behind him. The show runs on 'real time' which means there are sometimes three windows, a ticking clock and bursts of music like Law and Order's chun-chung. Well, The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, is the thinking person's 24. The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, is rational like a courtroom is rational.

Kline turns his legal expertise to evaluating primary sources in order to discover the extent of the conspiracy and culpability of the many suspects surrounding the case. Memorable characters and intriguing plot twists, unfold the criminal conspiracy to murder. Much like a courtroom presentation in the best films and novels, the author allows the jury of readers to determine whether there was a true plot to kill Lincoln and if the perpetrators could have been brought to trial.

Relying upon his legal arguments, Kline brings the story to a narrative climax at Harrisburg. Does Lincoln have enough evidence to believe Pinkerton's report? Should he alter his travel schedule through Baltimore? It was a second, independent source of intelligence from Winfield Scott and William Seward that convinced Lincoln to accept to Pinkerton's plan. Gathering information, arguing its value, and re-creating the tension of the secession crisis, Kline's narrative absorbs readers.

Klein clearly states which parts of his arguement are conjecture and which are founded upon a close reading of primary sources. He does not hide behind generalizations or best guesses. By the end of the book, this reader accepts Klein's arguement. Louis T.
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