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

Manhunt by James L. Swanson
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Aug 04, 2011

it was amazing
Read in August, 2011

April 1865 was one of the most momentous months in American history. Richmond fell to Union troops, Jefferson Davis was on the run, the government of the Confederacy collapsed, Lincoln was assassinated, and a 12 day manhunt was launched for his killer, John Wilkes Booth. In Manhunt, James Swanson has written an incredible book taking the reader through the days before the assassination to the capture, killing and burial of Booth, to the trial, imprisonment, and execution of co-conspirators, to the scramble for the reward money that had been offered by the government for Booth's capture. In an hour by hour recreation that is based on archival materials and trial transcripts, Manhunt is told from several perspectives including those hunting for Booth, John Wilkes Booth, Secretary of War Stanton, and others. Even though I knew the story, I was captivated by the narrative and the interactions among the major characters. The author's impatience with some of the major actors in the tale was very evident--for example, he clearly wanted Booth to keep moving South and especially not spend time the second day resting at the farm where he was captured in Virginia. In fact, the author's basic admiration for Booth (but not for the killing of Lincoln) was apparent throughout the book. Also fascinating for me were the secondary characters who were drawn so clearly in the narrative--especially Sgt. Boston Corbett, Major Henry Rathbone, Asia Booth Clarke, Dr. Samuel Mudd, and Fanny Seward. This book is exciting reading and sheds new light on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the search for his killer.
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03/06/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Hope (new)

Hope Harris-Gayles Sounds fascinating. I didn't realize April 1865 was such a dramatic month!


Jane As I have admitted, my knowledge and interest in history is sketchy, but the books you recommend always sound so interesting. I'll be watching for this one.


Judy Jane, this one almost reads like a novel. I really liked it.


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