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My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry…

My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes… (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Nora Titone (Author), Doris Kearns Goodwin (Foreword)

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1921089,976 (4.1)5
Title:My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy
Authors:Nora Titone (Author)
Other authors:Doris Kearns Goodwin (Foreword)
Info:Free Press (2010), Edition: First Edition, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:American history

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My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy by Nora Titone (2010)



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Abraham Lincoln’s assassination was only the culmination of a family rivalry that spanned decades in “My Thoughts Be Bloody,” a book about John Wilkes and Edwin Booth.

It’s fascinating to read a book about an event we all know and see coming, and to realize what a long road it took to get there. The assassination almost feels like an aside, the last great act in a family of actors used to taking the big stage.

The book starts with the paterfamilias, Junius Brutus Booth, the greatest British actor of his era, maybe the greatest actor period. He was an alcoholic who left behind a wife and children and set off for America, there finding a new love and fathering many children.

The family secret was they were all illegitimate, as his wasn’t actually married to his American “wife.”

Booth père left to tour Shakespeare, and had more affairs along the way. Eventually, one of the youngest children, Edwin, went with him to help keep him off the bottle and on point. Doing so, he absorbed the family talent – while little brother John Wilkes stayed home with mother.

Edwin eventually takes father’s place as the leader of the family and the talent, even as older brother Junius Jr. (called June) and John Wilkes tried their hand at acting. Short story, neither was as talented as their brother, and John in particular felt a rivalry that grew increasingly bitter.

The book covers many years in the Booth family story, with a full picture of the psychology and mentality of the players leading up to John’s puzzling affinity for the Rebel cause.

There are plenty of twists and turns here, all of them fascinating, and the family story is good enough without the end we know is coming – which only takes part of a chapter, at that.

Highly recommended.

See more of my reviews at Ralphsbooks. ( )
  ralphz | Nov 28, 2017 |
A group biography, dealing with two generations of the Booth family. They were very prominent in the American Theatre of the Nineteenth Century. Junius Brutus Booth was a rising actor in England but ran off to the USA with a flower girl and theatrical costumer leaving a wife and a son behind in London. He rose through the pack in the country he had chosen and soon, and for most of his life, was the most famous actor in the USA. Two of his sons struggled to become the most prominent Booth on the stage in their generation.
Edwin succeeded in the profession. John Wilkes became infamous for one act in a theatre. The book has many interesting details from the theatrical life of the time, and some of the peripheral subjects lead interesting lives as well. A very good piece of anecdotal history. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jul 7, 2017 |
This is the story of the entire Booth family and the state of theater in mid-1800s America, not just John Wilkes Booth. All of the above were fascinating as told by this author, with great revealing excerpts from theater reviews, friends, letters, etc.

The audio was excellently read, but you'll want the book to see the photos. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
A thorough examination of the relationship between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth that exposes the dynamic and competitiveness that led to John Wilkes assassination of President Lincoln. I was amazed at how important Edwin Booth was to the history of acting and for his influence on art and politics, as well as the unfortunate behaviors of his younger brother. The ultimate story of sibling rivalry, "My Thoughts be Bloody" is a must read for any lover of American history. ( )
1 vote JEB5 | Oct 30, 2013 |
An in depth study of the family of John Wilkes Booth the assassin of Lincoln. The premise of the story is that the rivalry that developed between John and Edwin, one of John's older brothers lead to the assassionation. Their rivalry seemed to be all-pervasive, On the stage, in the family and politically. At times very redundant I liked this book because it filled in an aspect of Lincoln's life I had not know before. ( )
1 vote oldman | Sep 15, 2013 |
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Offers a provocative new look at the motive behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the bitter sibling rivalry that led John Wilkes Booth to murder him.

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