Michael W. Kauffman
As historian William C. Davis once wrote, "no one has studied [John Wilkes] Booth longer or more in depth than Michael W. Kauffman, a well-known figure and voice of reason in the field of Lincoln assassination studies."
For thirty-five years, Kauffman has been a fixture at assassination-related symposia, tours, and news events. He has written numerous articles on the subject, and his bus tours of the John Wilkes Booth Escape Route have been a staple of feature publications all over the U.S., making Kauffman "legendary," according to The Washington Post. Taking a full-immersion approach to history, he has rowed across the Potomac where Booth rowed, leaped to the stage in Ford's Theatre, and burned down a tobacco barn almost identical to the one in which Booth was cornered and killed. (It was already slated for demolition!) For a time he even took up residence in Tudor Hall, the Booth family home in Maryland.
Kauffman has written for Civil War Times, the Washington Post, American Heritage, Blue and Gray, and the Lincoln Herald, among others. He has lectured throughout the United States, and has appeared in more than twenty television and radio documentaries, including programs on A& E, The Learning Channel, the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, and the Discovery Channel.
His works include a modern edition of Samuel B. Arnold's Memoirs of a Lincoln Conspirator, as well as American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies, which was named by the New York Times, The Washington Post, and several other media outlets as one of the best non-fiction books of 2004.
The Wall Street Journal named American Brutus one of the five best books ever published on political violence, and Civil War Interactive put it high on the list of Most Important Civil Books Ever Published. It received several awards, including the Walt Whitman Award for the best Civil War-related book of the year.
With an eye for the offbeat, the poignant, and the previously unpublished, Kauffman draws deeply from a wide range of interests. He once knew and worked with the people who developed the concept of criminal profiling, and from that experience, he learned to key in on personality traits and personal interactions. From friends in the legal profession, he learned to ferret out the intricacies and quirks of the law. His acquaintance with famous actors taught him much about the lives and unique concerns of a stage celebrity. With a spirit of fun and curiosity, he takes these insights and weaves an unforgettable tale that is also a delight to read.
American Brutus is not a narrow biography. It is an all-encompassing account of the Lincoln conspiracy and the people behind it. It is the first book on the subject based entirely on primary sources, and it strips away more than a century of myth and folklore. Historian William Marvel calls it "a work that can probably never be equaled in breadth of study, soundness of reasoning, or maturity of judgment." The late historian David Herbert Donald said, "There are many books on [the assassination] but this is by far the best."
With a companion documentary, The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth, that appears regularly on the History Channel, American Brutus has spawned a cottage industry in assassination-related tours.
Now, in response to popular demand, Michael W. Kauffman has put the highlights of his own Booth Escape tours into a stunning and informative book/CD package from TravelBrains, the leader in touring books and software. It is called In the Footsteps of an Assassin. This 161-page book guides the reader across the hills and swamps encountered by John Wilkes Booth on his flight from Washington after the Lincoln assassination. Many of the houses and sites are still much as they were in 1865.
Fully illustrated with maps, rare photos, panoramas, and matching then-and-now images, In the Footsteps of an Assassin is packed with little-known trivia and pictures of family treasures -- much of which you've never seen before.
An accompanying CD and downloadable audio tour let you follow along as you drive. Bring along your smart phone and have your picture taken, via Augmented Reality, with Booth or Lincoln at different points along the way.