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John Wilkes Booth: A Sister's Memoir Paperback – June 1, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Written in 1874, this volume was not published until 1938. In it, the sister of Lincoln's assassin gives a firsthand account of her brother's multifaceted personality.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

A sister’s affectionate look into the complex mind and character of her brother, the man who killed Lincoln
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157806225X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578062256
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Bennett on September 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Asia Frigga Booth Clarke was John Wilkes Booth's sister. In 1874 when she was six years into self-imposed exile in England and the pain of her brother's death as a consequence of his assassination of Lincoln was still fresh in her mind and the country's consciousness, Asia wrote down her recollections of their childhood mostly spent on a bucolic Maryland farm. Asia died in 1888; it was fifty years later in 1938 that her heirs published her memoir about her beloved brother entitled "The Unlocked Book". "A Sister's Memoir" is a modern revised version of the core material from the original edition that has been carefully annotated and edited by Professor Terry Alford to include additional family letters and insightful biographical information about Asia.

John Wilkes Booth was adored by his family and he dearly loved them in return. Asia's story is a glimpse into the every day life of a very unique comfortable middle class family of the mid nineteenth century. It is intimate and poignant and in the end tragic and heart breaking on so many levels. One comes away with a better understanding of the complexity of John Wilkes' personality and the family dynamics that shaped his character. She reveals to us a person who possessed a keen intellect and was passionate and loyal to his family and friends. We see a loving person who was playful, cheerful and kind. Asia restores her brother's humanity that was forever stripped away on April 14, 1865. John Wilkes Booth was a fascinating person who has often been the victim of poorly researched, two-dimensional biographies from pens tinged by the historian's emotional response to Lincoln's assassination. Asia does not gloss over the painful ending of her brother's story.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book as a follow-up book to "Manhunt, The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer" (an excellent read). I was taken with the small excerpts in the "Manhunt" book about his sister Asia, so I looked to see if there was any information on her. That is how I came across this book.

I found I got the most out of this book by taking it for what it is...a sister's heartfelt memoir of her life growing up with her brother, a brother with whom she shared a very close relationship. I found it also provided a lot of insight to his character, and I found I walked away with a further understanding of the passion John Wilkes Booth had for the South and the Southern way of life. The end of the book contains text of family letters and documents that further clarify the relationship of the family members to Wilkes Booth, their political leanings (North, South or undecided), how the assassination shocked and affected them after the fact, and other interesting insights.

Asia's writing is beautiful, and the editor in the preface states that this is the "only lengthy account of Booth left by a family member". I strongly recommend this book, but, speaking for myself, I found I got more out of this book after reading "Manhunt" and understanding the actual events that happened leading up to, during, and after the assassination as it directly related to John Wilkes Booth.
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Honest biography from John Wilkes Booth's favorite sibling. From the perspective of an apologist for the most famous assassin in American history, Asia lovingly provides insights into his character that surpasses other historians. Commentary from editor, Dr. Alford is fair and balanced.
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This was a good perspective--everyone knows the "crazy" Booth, but this shows the son, brother, uncle, and friend. Very moving.
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Format: Paperback
Given the time it was written, and the delay after the events described, this memoir from the sister of the nation's first Presidential Assasin provides a useful, if inevitably incomplete, account of his fateful devotion to the cause of the Confederacy.
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Very good book.
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