On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, a prominent actor from Maryland, assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in the Presidential Box at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. After firing his weapon, Booth leapt from the box to the stage, landed awkwardly and broke his leg. Raising his knife above his head, he made an announcement to the confused audience which many thought was part of the play. Booth then escaped through the back of the theatre and into the night. Thus began an adventurous 12-day manhunt that captivated the nation and placed enormous pressure on the federal government to find the assassin.
Swanson's account of the chase after Booth reads like a thriller with a great sense of place. The reader is taken on a trip from Washington D.C. to the farms and pine thickets of Maryland and finally follows the beleaguered and road-weary Booth to the Garrett Farm in Virginia. Along the way many accomplices, Confederate sympathizers and government advisors are seamlessly introduced and provide important background information to this riveting, fast-paced read.
Reviewed by bb, 02/11. Other reviews by bb.