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.

1 comment:

The Abraham Lincoln Observer said...

Josh: Just started "Bloody Crimes" myself, but so far the review is dead on. ... There's also a page and a half about Swanson's disgust at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum's coffin display and its John Wilkes Booth figurines. If you recall, you told me about that more than a year ago. Thanks again for that tip.