JZ Temple's Reviews > American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies

American Brutus by Michael W. Kauffman
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Aug 14, 07

bookshelves: history
Read in June, 2007

I picked up this book after reading a review of "Manhunt" which said that it wasn't as good as "American Brutus". I never did read "Manhunt" but "American Brutus" is a very interesting history, covering not only the assassination, but also giving a thorough biography of Booth as well as covering the post-assasination trials of the conspirators. There is an interesting stucture to the book. The first part (IIRC) covers the lead up to the assasination from the viewpoint of Booth. The next section covers a history of Booth and the other conspirators. Then there is a section that follows the immediate activities from the assasination through the events of the manhunt, but told from the point of view of the Federal officials. I may have a section swapped into the wrong place but the basic point is that the story doesn't constantly jump back and forth between the conspirators to the Federals. The book is a bit hard to follow at times because of all the characters and the fact that at times they are assuming aliases, but overall it's a facinating look not just at the bare facts of the assasination, but also delves into the Booth family, Washington politics and the attempt afterwards for many of the participants to color their own versions of the facts to emphasis their roles or cover up their blunders. The author takes great pains to identify his sources and the value (or lack thereof) he places on them, making the book interesting in yet another aspect, that being how a historian tries to change bare and conflicting facts into a cohesive narrative.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary Rigney This book is written well and is enjoyable, but you do need to read manhunt! It was really a fast paced, engaging read!


Dawn Michelle Manhunt was a very well-written book that I highly enjoyed. I think you would enjoy it as well.


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