Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer

Posted November 9, 2014 by The Book & Alcohol Girls in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

by James L. Swanson
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I received this book for free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer Book Cover Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer
James L. Swanson
Non-Fiction, History
William Morrow Paperbacks

The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.

I have to admit that I was skeptical about reading Manhunt. After all, like every red-blooded American student, I was taught about Abraham Lincoln and his assassination. I had the story down pat… in just a few sentences. John Wilkes Booth conspired to kill President Lincoln. He shot and killed Lincoln at the Ford’s Theatre. A few days later Booth died in a barn fire after being discovered by union troops. I would have never thought that history… a history that has been discussed ad nauseam… could be made into a thriller that I couldn’t put down.

That is exactly what Manhunt is. Author James L. Swanson is able to tell the story as if it were a fascinating bit of fiction. He jockeys back and forth between the settings following Booth in his doomed escape, the vigil around the president that is slowly slipping away, and the actions of each conspirator as they attempt to execute their plans. I loved this book. Swanson does not recite facts and attempt to explain the thought process and mechanizations of the conspiracy. He makes the reader a witness to what happened and he puts you into the minds of the people (you have to remember they aren’t characters) involved. This is not a textbook. There are no editorials. Manhunt is told as a story. In the brief moments that I came up for air, I found myself wondering what was going to happen next. Yes, I remembered that I already knew the outcome, but Manhunt takes you on one hell of a ride getting you there.

I give Manhunt 5 stars and pair it with Jack – hold the ice.

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