American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the online Lincoln outlet sale Conspiracies online sale

American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the online Lincoln outlet sale Conspiracies online sale

American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the online Lincoln outlet sale Conspiracies online sale

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It is a tale as familiar as our history primers: A deranged actor, John Wilkes Booth, killed Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre, escaped on foot, and eluded capture for twelve days until he met his fiery end in a Virginia tobacco barn. In the national hysteria that followed, eight others were arrested and tried; four of those were executed, four imprisoned. Therein lie all the classic elements of a great thriller. But the untold tale is even more fascinating.

Now, in American Brutus, Michael W. Kauffman, one of the foremost Lincoln assassination authorities, takes familiar history to a deeper level, offering an unprecedented, authoritative account of the Lincoln murder conspiracy. Working from a staggering array of archival sources and new research, Kauffman sheds new light on the background and motives of John Wilkes Booth, the mechanics of his plot to topple the Union government, and the trials and fates of the conspirators.

Piece by piece, Kauffman explains and corrects common misperceptions and analyzes the political motivation behind Booth’s plan to unseat Lincoln, in whom the assassin saw a treacherous autocrat, “an American Caesar.” In preparing his study, Kauffman spared no effort getting at the truth: He even lived in Booth’s house, and re-created key parts of Booth’s escape. Thanks to Kauffman’s discoveries, readers will have a new understanding of this defining event in our nation’s history, and they will come to see how public sentiment about Booth at the time of the assassination and ever since has made an accurate account of his actions and motives next to impossible–until now.

In nearly 140 years there has been an overwhelming body of literature on the Lincoln assassination, much of it incomplete and oftentimes contradictory. In American Brutus, Kauffman finally makes sense of an incident whose causes and effects reverberate to this day. Provocative, absorbing, utterly cogent, at times controversial, this will become the definitive text on a watershed event in American history.

From Publishers Weekly

Kauffman, an independent Lincoln assassination scholar, offers a beautifully written, exhaustive and well-reasoned reassessment of John Wilkes Booth and the murder of America''s 16th president. The story Kauffman tells, though highly familiar, is also byzantine enough to still capture our attention. More importantly, Kauffman puts a new spin on well-worn data, adding a riveting reinterpretation that paints Booth as a ruthless player of complex games: a darkly brilliant manipulator of people, not all of whom realized what they were a part of until after Lincoln lay dead. Booth reveled in creating false impressions and planting strategic misinformation. One example involves Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set Booth''s fractured leg before learning of the assassination and then, frightened for his life, made the mistake of denying knowing the actor. Years later, Gen. David Hunter—ranking member of the military commission that tried and sentenced Mudd to prison—commented: "The Court never believed that Dr. Mudd knew anything about Booth''s designs. Booth made him a tool as he had done others." Kauffman''s Booth is, in the end, a crazed but skilled puppetmaster who, as part of his endgame, needed to make sure that most of his puppets joined him in martyrdom for the Confederate cause. "Booth immortalized himself by staging one of history''s greatest dramas," Kauffman writes. "In the process, he accomplished what every actor aspires to do: he made us all wonder where the play ended and reality began."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In this thorough review of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Kauffman seems to have examined everything--documents, places, and artifacts--related to the case. He reports having spent 400 hours in the assassin''s home, indicating his dedication to unearthing all the facts about the plots of John Wilkes Booth. Fortunately, dedication doesn''t degenerate into obsession with any single angle: Kauffman announces no astounding revelation--such as a link between the assassin and the Confederate government. He does stress, however, the forensic sloppiness of the investigation, albeit without insinuating the wrong people were caught, tried, and hanged. While joining the historical chorus that innkeeper Mary Surratt, whatever her knowledge of the plotters, might not have deserved the rope, Kauffman''s tracking of Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt doesn''t clear them of consorting with Booth. A levelheaded analysis of the evolution of Booth''s plans, Kauffman''s book will satisfy the enduring interest in Lincoln''s murder. REVWR
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Advance praise for American Brutus

“In this definitive reinvestigation of the Lincoln assassination, Michael Kauffman has at long last captured the real John Wilkes Booth. Writing with confidence and clarity, Kauffman masterfully cuts through the thicket of conflicting rumors, false stories, and wrong assumptions, that have corrupted many earlier studies. American Brutus is simply the most comprehensive and credible account ever published about the Lincoln assassination. By unmasking Booth’s real motivation while meticulously stripping away a century of accumulated folklore, Kauffman unlocks the mystery of why Lincoln was killed.”
–GERALD POSNER, author of Case Closed and Why America Slept

“In this gripping, often surprising reexamination of America’s most notorious crime, Michael W. Kauffman rescues the Lincoln assassination from the historical waxworks. Combining exhaustive research, computer technology, and a compulsively readable style, Kauffman clears away more than a century of misconceptions. This Booth is a greater actor, and a more cunning monster, than we ever imagined.”
–RICHARD NORTON SMITH, executive director, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

From the Inside Flap

It is a tale as familiar as our history primers: A deranged actor, John Wilkes Booth, killed Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre, escaped on foot, and eluded capture for twelve days until he met his fiery end in a Virginia tobacco barn. In the national hysteria that followed, eight others were arrested and tried; four of those were executed, four imprisoned. Therein lie all the classic elements of a great thriller. But the untold tale is even more fascinating.
Now, in American Brutus, Michael W. Kauffman, one of the foremost Lincoln assassination authorities, takes familiar history to a deeper level, offering an unprecedented, authoritative account of the Lincoln murder conspiracy. Working from a staggering array of archival sources and new research, Kauffman sheds new light on the background and motives of John Wilkes Booth, the mechanics of his plot to topple the Union government, and the trials and fates of the conspirators. Piece by piece, Kauffman explains and corrects common misperceptions and analyzes the political motivation behind Booth’s plan to unseat Lincoln, in whom the assassin saw a treacherous autocrat, “an American Caesar.” In preparing his study, Kauffman spared no effort getting at the truth: He even lived in Booth’s house, and re-created key parts of Booth’s escape. Thanks to Kauffman’s discoveries, readers will have a new understanding of this defining event in our nation’s history, and they will come to see how public sentiment about Booth at the time of the assassination and ever since has made an accurate account of his actions and motives next to impossible–until now.
In nearly 140 years there has been an overwhelming body of literature on the Lincoln assassination, much of it incomplete and oftentimes contradictory. In American Brutus, Kauffman finally makes sense of an incident whose causes and effects reverberate to this day. Provocative, absorbing, utterly cogent, at times controversial, this will become the definitive text on a watershed event in American history.

About the Author

MICHAEL W. KAUFFMAN is a political historian and graduate of the University of Virginia who has studied the Lincoln assassination for more than thirty years. He has appeared on A&E, the History Channel, C-SPAN, and the Learning Channel, and was called to testify as an expert witness in the 1995 Booth exhumation hearings. He lives in southern Maryland.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

ONE

“By God, then, is John Booth crazy?”

Good friday had never been a well-attended night at the theater, but on that evening, the city of Washington was in a partying mood. On Palm Sunday, General Robert E. Lee had surrendered his Virginia troops to General Ulysses S. Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House. Though some forces remained in the field, Lee had been the greatest obstacle on the path to victory. Now that his troops were out of the way, the bloodiest war in America’s history would soon be over, and the celebrations had already begun. Four years to the day after its surrender, Fort Sumter was again under the Stars and Stripes. The flag raising there that day was marked with speeches, music, and prayers of thanks. There were prayers in Washington as well, but a lighter, more carefree atmosphere prevailed. There, buildings were “illuminated” with gas jets configured in the shape of stars, eagles, or words such as “peace” and “victory.” The city’s population, which had ballooned to more than two hundred thousand during the war, had gone crazy. The streets were crawling with silly, drunken revelers—soldiers back from the war, tourists passing through, and all the usual odds and ends—staggering from one bar to another in search of a party and another toast to the military victors. All things considered, maybe this Good Friday 1865 was not such a bad night for the theater after all.

Ford’s Theatre, on Tenth Street, was one of Washington’s leading establishments. It had all the amenities of a first-rate playhouse. Its owner, John T. Ford, presented the finest talent the American stage had to offer. The audience that turned out this night made up a pretty fair cross section of Washington society: clerks, businessmen, politicians, tourists. And of course, there were soldiers. An ever-present part of life in the capital, they came to Ford’s from every camp, fort, and hospital in the area, their dark blue uniforms scattered among the hoopskirts and crinolines. Some wore the light blue of the Veterans’ Reserve Corps, whose members once served in the ranks but were no longer suited for combat or strenuous duty. Here, they mingled comfortably with socialites, power brokers, and people from all walks of life. It was a diverse crowd, but nearly everyone had something in common, which explained, in large measure, the need to be in a house of entertainment on such a holy day: these people had been through hell.

One could hardly name an event in recent history that someone in this audience had not witnessed. Here were the veterans of Bull Run, Shiloh, and Gettysburg; the political warriors who shaped the nation; and the commercial giants of the age. One man had survived the horrors of Andersonville prison, and others had just arrived from Appomattox. This was more than just a “large and fashionable audience”; the people who came to Ford’s Theatre that night had already been eyewitnesses to history. No doubt they were eager to get back to an ordinary life.

The play was Our American Cousin, a popular British comedy from the 1850s. Its humor was derived from the homespun “Yankeeisms” of Asa Trenchard, a backwoods Vermonter, and the physical eccentricities of Lord Dundreary, a self-important British nobleman. The star was Laura Keene, a London native, whose character, Florence Trenchard, believes that her cousin Asa (played by actor Harry Hawk) has just inherited the family fortune. Florence and her British relatives try to stay in Asa’s good graces, but find it difficult to overlook his crass country-boy manners. It is this culture clash that carries the play.

For most of the audience that night, however, Our American Cousin was not the main attraction. A notice in that day’s Evening Star had announced that President Abraham Lincoln and his wife would attend the performance. Their guest would be Ulysses S. Grant, lieutenant general of the army, victor of the recent war, hero of the hour. Their surprise reserva- tion had come in that morning, and it sent Harry Clay Ford, brother of the theater’s owner, on a mad dash to organize a special program. A patriotic song called “Honor to Our Soldiers” was written for the occasion, and Ford sent notices of it to the Evening Star. He even redesigned the evening’s playbill to reflect the new developments. By late afternoon, the reservations were rolling in. A normally dismal night was now showing some promise. By curtain time, at eight o’clock, Ford’s Theatre had a fairly good house.

Abraham Lincoln was famously fond of the theater, and had passed many an evening at Ford’s or its competitor, the National. At Ford’s, he always occupied the same box, on the right side, directly above the stage. It was an oddly shaped space with sharp angles and cramped, narrow corners, accessible only through a narrow passageway just off the balcony. It actually consisted of two boxes, numbered 7 and 8, which were normally divided by a partition. Stagehands set aside the divider and brought in more comfortable furniture to fill the space. For the president, a large walnut rocker, upholstered in burgundy damask, was placed in the corner nearest the door. A matching sofa went along the rear wall of the box, and the third piece, a large, comfortable armchair, was placed in the “upstage” corner, farthest from the door. The box had just enough space for those chairs, plus a small one for Mrs. Lincoln.

American flags were hung on either side, and two more were draped over the front balustrade. The blue standard of the Treasury Guards hung on a staff in the center, just above a gilt-framed portrait of George Washington. The flags added more than just a festive dash of color. They let everyone know where to look for the hero of Appomattox. Make no mistake about it: General Grant, and not Lincoln, was the evening’s chief attraction.

James P. Ferguson was keeping an eye out for the general. Ferguson owned a saloon next door to the theater, and he always made a point of attending when the president was there. But he took a particular interest in Ulysses S. Grant, whom he claimed to have known since boyhood. When Harry Ford told him that Grant was coming, Ferguson bought two tickets for the dress circle, or first balcony, with a clear view into the box directly opposite. With the best seats in the house, “Fergy” brought along his young sweetheart so she could see the general as well.

They were in for a disappointment. General Grant had taken an afternoon train home to Burlington, New Jersey. A young couple came to the theater in his place. The presidential party arrived late, and as they appeared in the dress circle, the audience burst into a long, spontaneous ovation. The president acknowledged the approbation with a smile, then took his seat, partly hidden behind a flag. Miss Clara Harris took a seat at the far side of the box, and her fiancé, Major Henry Rathbone, sat on the sofa just behind her. Though Grant’s absence was a disappointment, many in the audience assumed he would appear later. Ferguson, for one, kept a lookout for him.

By ten-fifteen, Our American Cousin had progressed to the second scene of the third act. Asa Trenchard had just told a woman named Mrs. Mountchessington that he hadn’t inherited a fortune after all, as everyone thought, and the character (played by Helen Muzzy) had a change of heart about the marriage she had hoped to arrange between Asa and her daughter Augusta.

asa (to Augusta): You crave affection, you do. Now I’ve no fortune, but I’m biling over with affections, which I’m ready to pour out to all of you, like apple sass over roast pork.

mrs. mountchessington: Mr. Trenchard, you will please recollect you are addressing my daughter, and in my presence.

asa: Yes, I’m offering her my heart and hand just as she wants them, with nothing in ’em.

The president’s guests seemed to enjoy the play. Miss Harris had been the Lincolns’ guest here before. Major Rathbone, of the 12th U.S. Infantry, was not quite so familiar to them. He had commanded a company under Burnside at Antietam and Fredericksburg. More recently, he had served as the head of disbursing for the Provost Marshal General’s bureau. Henry and Clara had known each other since childhood, when her widowed father married his widowed mother.

Mary Todd Lincoln seemed especially pleased to make a public appearance that night. Sitting next to the president, she looked radiant in her flowered dress. She seemed to be enjoying a rare moment of happiness, her mind unburdened, for now, by personal loss and suffering. One lady in the audience noticed that Mrs. Lincoln smiled a great deal, and often glanced over at her husband.

The years had weighed heavily on Abraham Lincoln, and an occasional night out gave him a much-needed diversion. But even the theater did not free him from the weight of his duties. Twice he was interrupted by the delivery of messages. Charles Forbes, the White House messenger, brought one dispatch, then took a seat outside the entrance to the box. A newspaper reporter named Hanscom brought the other. Neither message seemed to require an immediate response, and the president settled quietly back in his rocking chair, head propped in his hand, looking lost in thought.

Though Lincoln was hidden from view most of the time, he occasionally leaned over the box railing to look down into the audience. That is how Isaac Jacquette, in the dress circle, got his first look at him. It was halfway into the play, and a woman sitting nearby remarked that she had never seen the president before. A man whispered that she might see him now, as he was leaning forward. Every time he came into view, the president stole the show.

On the far side of the dress circle, James Ferguson, still watching for General Grant, had borrowed his girlfriend’s opera ...

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

DaveF
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Incredibly detailed, but too long and lacks focus.
Reviewed in the United States on April 17, 2018
The impression this book left me with is that the author, Michael W. Kauffman has to be somewhat obsessed with the Lincoln Assassination. His apparent level of detailed knowledge of people, events, timelines, past experts, explanations, and information sources is... See more
The impression this book left me with is that the author, Michael W. Kauffman has to be somewhat obsessed with the Lincoln Assassination. His apparent level of detailed knowledge of people, events, timelines, past experts, explanations, and information sources is incredible. Also, he presents some very interesting and unique takes on certain fact and events, disputing a number of supposedly established facts/expanations (i.e. Booth''s broken leg was not from the jump to the stage but a riding accident.) For that, he deserves 4 or 5 stars.
But... the problems with the book are the incredible detail, the lack of a main theme, repetition, and its ultimate length. I was drowning trying to keep things straight, wondering why there were so many bunny trails, and why he needed to follow multiple story lines. This included Booth''s biography, plotting the act, the conspiracy, Lincolns elaborate funeral odyssey, the conspirators'' trial, and a coda in which numerous people involved in the story had the rest of their lives summarized. The book was too long by half, badly needing editing. Alternatively, it should have been broken up into two or even three books - the conspiracy, Booth''s story, and the trial/government incompetence.
Ultimately, I give the book 2.5 or 3 stars. There are better written books on this subject.
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Maria M.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A long very detailed look at the Lincoln assassination
Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2018
I purchased this book with the audio book for a really good deal. Spent less than $20 for the two. It''s a long read (and listen) and you have to really be paying attention because of all the little minut details that you can easily miss. I often found myself... See more
I purchased this book with the audio book for a really good deal. Spent less than $20 for the two.
It''s a long read (and listen) and you have to really be paying attention because of all the little minut details that you can easily miss.
I often found myself flipping back pages to start a section over because I was distracted by my surroundings. I have two kids under the age of four so it''s not surprising that I couldn''t keep up.
What I really enjoyed about this book was that the author took into account the mindset and way of life at the time. We too often view history through a modern lens and often hold the people to our standards when those standards were foreign to them.
What was very similar to our time was the bashing and name calling of political figures by the media (newspapers at that time) and it''s not hard to understand why Booth and his conspirators did what they did and expected a different outcome than what they received.
While the talking heads literally called for Lincoln''s assassination in print they then turned around and damned those that took action to do it.
They saw themselves as would be heroes and saviors of their country basically because that was what they were lead to believe by popular opinion.
While nothing excuses them of their wrongdoing, I believe from what I learned in this book based on real articles at the time that those involved were thoroughly convinced that assassination of the northern leaders was noble and well deserved.
I come away with a different perspective and one that clears up a lot of confusion that I had while reading other books on the topic.
Lewis Powell is my main focus of interest and unfortunately there isn''t much said on him apart from what I''ve heard repeated over and over and he''s wholly unaccounted for for the duration of Booth and Herold''s getaway. The trial is where he gets the most attention and I think that''s basically because Booth had died previous.
Booth''s actions/words/history are recorded to the point where one can write a screen play on just him and satisfy any Booth fan''s expectations.
This author is just short of living in 1865 and witnessing these events in person. Well researched and very knowledgeable.
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Thomas Reed
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
at its best, details all of the individuals that were involved ...
Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2017
I''ve read many books that pertain to the last 3 months of the Civil War. This includes 4 books about the assassination of President Lincoln. This book, at its best, details all of the individuals that were involved in the planning & assassination, provides a good biography... See more
I''ve read many books that pertain to the last 3 months of the Civil War. This includes 4 books about the assassination of President Lincoln. This book, at its best, details all of the individuals that were involved in the planning & assassination, provides a good biography of John Wilkes Booth and his relationship with his family, and relates the subsequent chase to apprehend Booth & his associates. At its worst, the author tends to get too involved & wordy with minutia of the facts. Having said all of the above, I enjoyed the book, and would recommend it as a relevant and documented account of the planning and assassination of the President Lincoln. Another good account of Booth and the assassination is the book "Manhunt" by James Swanson. American Brutus is well worth the purchase price.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Riveting look at the Booth family and legacy
Reviewed in the United States on May 29, 2016
There was a wealth of new information here as well as previously unreleased photos. Kauffman also did a great job setting the historical time period and conflicts of the Maryland/D.C area.
12 people found this helpful
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Ellyn
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not Really a Book About JB Wilkes
Reviewed in the United States on January 2, 2020
I gave this one four stars, although there were parts of the book that dragged quite a bit, and I wish I''d read it in book form rather than on Kindle because it would have been easier to read the notes that way. I''ve been interested in the Lincoln assassination since I was... See more
I gave this one four stars, although there were parts of the book that dragged quite a bit, and I wish I''d read it in book form rather than on Kindle because it would have been easier to read the notes that way. I''ve been interested in the Lincoln assassination since I was very young, and I probably will continue to read every book on it, even if there isn''t all that much new in them. This book includes much about JWB that I''ve never read before, and for that material, five stars are deserved. The hunt for JWB dragged a bit, and though much of the material on the trial was new to me, I didn''t find the writing all that compelling. I''d say American Brutus is for readers who know quite a bit about the assassination and are willing to move back and forth through the text to find the bits new to them. This is not a book chiefly on JWB, as the title suggests.
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resol
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
What happend to John Wilkes Booth?
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2018
In first learned of "demise of booth, from the very same 1995 episode of unsolved mysteries referenced by Kaufman in this book. And this was further confusing ne with the publication of "manhunt" , I was personally skeptical all the way thep8gh if they man slain un the... See more
In first learned of "demise of booth, from the very same 1995 episode of unsolved mysteries referenced by Kaufman in this book. And this was further confusing ne with the publication of "manhunt" , I was personally skeptical all the way thep8gh if they man slain un the shootout at Garrett farm.....actually was booth or a confederate doppelganger....moreover in public ach9pls the story of the civil war ends as it is taught, with Lincoln''s assassination. One bothered to say anything about what happened to John Wilkes Booth in the aftermath. Th s is a combination of historical narrative I''m sure inspired Bill O''Reilly and Martin duggard, and legal analysis / true crime.
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J. Jamakaya
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Addictive, hard to put down!
Reviewed in the United States on October 12, 2011
"American Brutus" has got to be the greatest crime story of all time. It''s written with an immediacy that keeps you on the edge of your seat, reading nervously as the horrible plots unfold. We all know how the story ends but, oh my, the details along the way - the... See more
"American Brutus" has got to be the greatest crime story of all time. It''s written with an immediacy that keeps you on the edge of your seat, reading nervously as the horrible plots unfold. We all know how the story ends but, oh my, the details along the way - the characters, motivations and complications are endlessly fascinating. I am not an assassination buff, so many details of the story were new to me.

I was awed by the many eye-witness accounts of the fateful night at Ford''s Theater. It was sort of like watching Lincoln''s assassination being covered live on CNN (including inaccuracies and fabrications). I''d never read such detail before. It was also interesting to see how the police and military followed various leads, many of them fruitless, in search of the conspirators who targeted Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward (who was stabbed and severely injured while at home). I didn''t know how long Booth plotted against Lincoln or how many co-conspirators were involved or how many individuals aided his attempted escape to the south. I knew he was a southern sympathizer bitter at the South''s defeat, but I hadn''t realized what a manipulator Booth was and what delusions of grandeur he had. The book takes you through his miserable death, the trials of the conspirators, the executions of some and the pardons of others.

Even tho "American Brutus" is long, the story is so exciting and it has such a brisk pace that it felt like a quick read. My only suggestion is that future editions have a "cast of characters" section listing the names and roles or titles of major players. There are hundreds of individuals involved in this amazing story - government officials, military officers, investigators, conspirators, witnesses, newspapermen, you name it. It would have helped to have a little "cheat sheet" to look back on to reacquaint oneself with a person who played some role, then showed up again later in the story. A related read that is highly recommended: James Swanson''s Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln''s Killer (P.S.) .
15 people found this helpful
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victor vignola
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Book
Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2013
Michael Kauffman''s opening to the book is one of the best accounts of what transpired at Ford''s Theater and the environs of Wash DC in the immediate aftermath of April 14, 1865 that can be found. Mr. Kauffman is acknowledged to be THE expert in the Booth-Lincoln... See more
Michael Kauffman''s opening to the book is one of the best accounts of what transpired at Ford''s Theater and the environs of Wash DC in the immediate aftermath of April 14, 1865 that can be found. Mr. Kauffman is acknowledged to be THE expert in the Booth-Lincoln kidnap/assassination plot. Mr Kauffman''s research and knowledge about the subject is 1st rate, sourced and well footnoted. I must qualify my praise with one qualifier: Mr. Kauffman gets a wee bit into the weeds explaining the legal concept of how/why Booth involved the other conspirators. Other than that excursion (which took me some time to grasp) the book is very well done and written in a manner that places the reader in the story. If you are interested and so-inclined - there is a tour of Booth''s escape that is conducted by the Surratt Society - highly recommended and well worth the time/cost if you are in the DC area.
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Top reviews from other countries

Alexander McKay
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2016
excellent
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