Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson

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I admit that prior to reading Swanson’s book about the assassination of President Lincoln, I knew very little about the dramatic events that took place at Ford’s Theater in April 1865. That is precisely why I read Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson, a young reader’s adaptation of his adult bestseller, Manhunt.

What an exciting story!  This book is definitely being added to Inly’s 2011 summer reading list. I knew that John Wilkes Booth was a Confederate sympathizer, but had little understanding of the scope of the dramatic plot he organized to assassinate the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State and the 12 day search for Booth and his co-conspirators.

It felt like every  page, I was saying to whomever was around, “Did you know that…” I was especially intrigued by what passed for presidential security in 1865. As the President was dying, an actress from the show he had gone to see was allowed to go up to his booth and put Lincoln’s head in her lap! There’s a lot more – don’t get me started.

Swanson focuses on one event, but successfully gives the reader a sense of the strong feelings and divisions that existed at the end of the Civil War. I’ve already ordered Swanson’s follow-up, Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis.


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