Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Recent New Lincoln Book

On Sunday, The Washington Post published a review of the new book by James Swanson, Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse. In the review, John Waugh (author of several Lincoln and Civil War era books) attests that Swanson's book is 'riveting, absorbing, and meticulous.'

Given the popularity of Swanson's previous book, the bestselling Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer, it is easy to understand the expectation for this latest book. The two books detail virtually the same period of time (April 1865). Perhaps the unexpected thing is the counterpoint Swanson is attempting between the pursuit of Jefferson Davis as he tried to move the Confederate Government (such as it was at that point) from Richmond further south and the more parade-like journey of Lincoln's body from Washington to Springfield for burial.

I enjoyed reading Swanson's Manhunt. It was fast-paced and very well-written, and Swanson marshaled the facts in a dramatic way, making the book seem more like a novel than a work of nonfiction. Swanson's book didn't add any new details to the story, but certainly told "The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth" in a compelling way. I expect the same from Bloody Crimes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vampire Hunter Movie Finds Studio Home

Evidently 20th Century Fox believes that they can make money with the forthcoming film version of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. According to Variety, they put out quite the effort, along with ponying up an undisclosed amount of cash, to win the rights to the Tim Burton-produced movie.

Despite Burton's name, it seems to me that a $69 million film (plus a "who knows how much" amount to spend on advertising) featuring Abraham Lincoln fighting vampires needs more than 3-D gimmickry -- it needs the cast of Twilight too if it's going to make any money. Imagine this juicy tidbit: the most difficult decision Lincoln faced during the war wasn't whether or not to free the slaves; it was deciding between Team Edward and Team Jacob.