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The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder…
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The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Daniel Stashower

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204557,485 (3.84)1
Member:Ronrose1
Title:The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
Authors:Daniel Stashower
Info:Minotaur Books (2013), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, Pinkerton

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The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (2013)

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As a former history teacher, I was drawn in by the cover and introduction to Daniel Stashower's "The Hour of Peril". The story dealt with a part of pre-Civil War history that I didn't know much about - that being the plot to assassinate Lincoln on way to his 1st inauguration. The book appears to be well researched with a number of sources cited at the end.

Stashower begins the story with a short bio of America's first detective, Allan Pinkerton, and the creation of his detective agency. Pinkerton's role in the story soon becomes evident as Stashower describes Lincoln's well-publicized trip from his home in Springfield, IL to Washington. Pinkerton and his operatives discover that a plot to kill Lincoln by Southern sympathizers is underfoot and may take place as the train moves through Baltimore.

Lincoln's 13 day journey starts innocuously enough as he makes stops in Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, and dozens of smaller "whistle stops" at other locations. Pinkerton realizes just as the trip begins that Lincoln's chances of getting from Baltimore to Washington alive are slim. His spies believe that there could be hundreds of Southern sympathizers who may be part of the plan to kill the President-elect.

Well, as we all know, Lincoln made it to Washington alive for his inauguration, but rather than give away the entire plot to save the President-elect in this review, let me stop here so that the reader can discover all of that for him- or herself. Let me finish by saying that the book is a pleasant reading experience that should appeal to Civil War buffs, historians, and even the casual reading of history. It doesn't read like a text, but more like a novel, which will give it wider appeal. ( )
  coachtim30 | Sep 14, 2014 |
An immensely readable explanation of the assassination attempt on Lincoln's life before he was even sworn in as president. The south was heating up after the election of Lincoln and the president of the Washington & Baltimore railroad was concerned that his tracks would be blown up because his business was based in New York City. He hired Allan Pinkerton to ferret out this plot and in the investigation Pinkerton uncovered a plot to assassinate Lincoln when he passed through Baltimore on that railroad.
Lincoln is just a slight character in this book; the bulk of it is really about Pinkerton and his operatives which made it more of a detective story. But what a story! My only reservation is that the author does not provide footnotes to support the data in the book. I would want to pursue some of that research myself and it would have been helpful to have that start. Those omissions led me to downgrade the rating to four stars, but for pure entertainment this is the book to read. ( )
  book58lover | Jun 24, 2013 |
Riveting history, made even more authentic because it exposes a rarely examined event. You can't help but be entranced by the narrative, even though you know how it will end. Excellent work! ( )
  Richard.Mansel | Jun 15, 2013 |
Before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated there was a plot to kill him along the route in Baltimore being hatched by pro Confederate sympathizers. Enter Alan Pinkerton, who at this point is considered the best detective in the country. The first third of the book tells of how he got this reputation and about some of the other detectives that he employed.. In fact, the term "private eye" came from him as on the door of his office he had a large open eye and under it the words "We never sleep". The book moves from here to the infiltration of the conspirators to the actual way he and Sec. Seward are able to thwart the plot and bring Lincoln safely to Washington D. C. The book is well research but would probably be more for the history buff than a general audience. As a history teacher myself - I liked it. ( )
  muddyboy | Mar 3, 2013 |
This book reads like a good suspense thriller. Even though we know the plot to kill Lincoln at this time will not be successful, we can't help making comparisons with the later successful assassination. The research that went into this book is well evidenced in the detail of this easily overlooked footnote in history. The coming events of the Civil War and Lincoln's eventual assassination in 1865 would largely remove this incident to a side track of history. We owe much of the thanks for preserving the details of this incident to the remarkable work of Allen Pinkerton and his agents. They performed much of the undercover field work that revealed the plots to kill President elect Lincoln. The author gives Pinkerton much of the credit. He also acknowledges, however, that other independent investigations were going on to try to ascertain the degree of threat to Lincoln as he traveled through Baltimore, whose populace largely sided with the pro-secessionists of the deep South. Many threats were voiced that Lincoln would not be allowed to proceed to Washington to take the oath of office. A good overview of Pinkerton, his skilled agents and the history of the Pinkerton Detective Agency adds greatly to the the book. The author is thorough in his research and doesn't fail to give opposing views of the events that were to transpire. Book provided by Amazon Vine. ( )
  Ronrose1 | Dec 9, 2012 |
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Epigraph
In the hour of the nation’s peril, he conducted Abraham Lincoln safely through the ranks of treason to the scene of his first inauguration as President.

Inscription on the grave of Allan Pinkerton
It is perfectly manifest that there was no conspiracy—no conspiracy of a hundred, of fifty , of twenty, of three; no definite purpose in the heart of even one man to murder Mr. Lincoln in Baltimore.

—Ward H. Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and self-appointed bodyguard
Dedication
For Sam and Jack
Rebellious Sons of Maryland
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(Introduction) "This trip of ours has been very laborious and exciting," the young poet wrote to a friend back home in Illinois.
(Prologue) Security that day was the tightest Washington had ever seen.
The peculiar march of event that carried Allan Pinkerton to Baltimore had begun twenty-two years earlier - on the night of November 3, 1839 - on a rain-soaked field in South Wales.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312600224, Hardcover)

“It's history that reads like a race-against-the-clock thriller.” Harlan Coben

Daniel Stashower, the two-time Edgar award–winning author of The Beautiful Cigar Girl, uncovers the riveting true story of the “Baltimore Plot,” an audacious conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War in THE HOUR OF PERIL.

In February of 1861, just days before he assumed the presidency, Abraham Lincoln faced a “clear and fully-matured” threat of assassination as he traveled by train from Springfield to Washington for his inauguration. Over a period of thirteen days the legendary detective Allan Pinkerton worked feverishly to detect and thwart the plot, assisted by a captivating young widow named Kate Warne, America’s first female private eye.

As Lincoln’s train rolled inexorably toward “the seat of danger,” Pinkerton struggled to unravel the ever-changing details of the murder plot, even as he contended with the intractability of Lincoln and his advisors, who refused to believe that the danger was real. With time running out Pinkerton took a desperate gamble, staking Lincoln’s life—and the future of the nation—on a “perilous feint” that seemed to offer the only chance that Lincoln would survive to become president.  Shrouded in secrecy—and, later, mired in controversy—the story of the “Baltimore Plot” is one of the great untold tales of the Civil War era, and Stashower has crafted this spellbinding historical narrative with the pace and urgency of a race-against-the-clock thriller.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

Two-time Edgar award-winning author Daniel Stashower uncovers the riveting true story of the "Baltimore Plot," an audacious conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War.

(summary from another edition)

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Minotaur Books

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