Ally's Reviews > Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

Manhunt by James L. Swanson
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's review
Oct 13, 2010

really liked it

I started reading Manhunt with a mentality of "Alright, let's get this over with." But by the end of the day I found myself halfway through the book. I eventually pried myself away long enough to get some sleep and then immediately finished it up the next morning. I am a person who isn't exactly fascinated with history, however I am interested in crime scenes and detective work which initially led me to read this book. It is CSI of the 1860s to say the least.

The details of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination are known to people through out America today. John Wilkes Booth, a southern actor who was enraged by the northern victories and the surrender of the Confederate States of America, crept up behind President Lincoln while he was watching a play at Ford’s Theater. After shooting him in the head, Booth leaped to the stage, gave a cry of triumph, and disappeared into the night on his horse who was waiting for him in the alley behind the theatre. For twelve days he was the most wanted man in America. The story of his days on the run serve as the subject for James Swanson’s New York Times bestselling Manhunt.

Reading this book led me to think that Booth's plot ultimately failed. He had hoped to be seen as a hero, even much Southern sentiment turned against him for his dishonorable act of taking the life of the President. Booth was hated and, because he was on the run, was not able to explain or to justify his action. Meanwhile, Lincoln’s death raised his status so he is known today as one of the greatest Americans in history and is routinely declared the greatest President. The belief that drove him to assassinate the President is largely forgotten.

While the book can be a little over dramatic at times it is still a great read. I found myself flipping through every page with no desire to "take a break" or "finish it later". This book really takes a well known event in history and brings it to life. The twelve day chase for Booth is so clear in my mind it is like I was there. This book looks as if it would only be directed towards people interested in history but I also feel that people who like reading action-packed novels will enjoy this book just as much . I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy read full of suspense and page turning action.

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