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John Wilkes Booth: Day By Day by Arthur F.…

John Wilkes Booth: Day By Day

by Arthur F. Loux

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found this book informative although not as easy to read as I thought it would be. There is a lot of good background about Booth, his family, the times, and the environment. For someone who needs a reference about the activities of Booth and those who shared his life, it's a good reference. ( )
  BAP1012 | May 13, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Definitely not a book to read cover to cover, but the research that went into creating this is amazing. Something to be referenced over and over.
  cweller | Apr 23, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
While I found the book interesting if somewhat confusing (definitely not light reading), I knew who could properly appreciate and review it. I gave the book to my older brother who has been studying the Civil War and Lincoln for about fifty years. The following is his review:

Loux, Arthur F., John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2014.

This book is an expanded version of Mr. Loux’s 1990 self-published work of the same title, which was printed in a calendar format. The subdivision into chapters and the inclusion of several pages of text at the beginning of each chapter greatly expand the appeal of this book to a wider audience; I know I wouldn’t have bothered with it in its original form. Although it took a while to get used to the duplication found in the text plus calendar format, it eventually became quite captivating, especially the chapters dealing with Booth’s acting career. They not only give a more complete picture of John Wilkes Booth as a person and an actor, but also tell the story of American theatre in the mid-19th century, with a core of touring professionals appearing in multiple productions over a brief period of time, supported by a local theatre company, and then moving on to repeat the process in another city. The latter chapters, dealing with the kidnapping and assassination plots, are where the text plus calendar format really comes to the fore, giving the reader two different ways to follow the story, while the calendar portion also fills in some details not included in the text. Unlike some other recent authors dealing with Booth and the Lincoln assassination, Arthur Loux does not make any broad generalizations based on little or no documentation other than his own personal feelings. (Take that, Bill O’Reilly!) Both his notes and bibliography are very comprehensive and truly representative of his 25-plus years of research. That being said, this is clearly not a book for novices. If you have not already studied Lincoln or the Civil War era, this book would not be a good place to start; if you have, go for it.
  unadillacats | Apr 14, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Like probably many of you out there, I am a Lincoln nut and have been since I first learned about him in grade school. No matter what else I am reading, I am usually also reading something about Mr. Lincoln. I think this book really adds to a gap in the Lincoln literature, but I wanted to be clear on why. Anyone who gets this book needs to know that it is really a research compendium, i.e., it is probably more to be referenced, than to be read. Now, I am actually reading it straight through and am finding it interesting, but I don’t think that would be everyone’s cup of tea.

Indeed, the essence of the book is spelled right out in the title, “John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day. The author, the late Arthur Loux (d. 2013), was an historian who basically made it his mission to research and record whatever information he could find about Booth’s activities, literally, day by day. To this end, the book is a tremendous resource. To say it is exhaustively researched is almost an understatement. Loux scoured libraries and museums, and visited places Booth had been. He consulted newspapers, advertisements, reviews, diaries, letters, and personal accounts of observers. Everything is meticulously footnoted and all sources (and they are voluminous) are listed. He makes no judgments and supplies no theories or psychoanalysis. That wasn’t his job – his job was to give the researcher a concise, factual, and documented account of Booth’s daily activities. And in that, he has succeeded marvelously.

The book, approached as a reference work, will be a rewarding, thoughtful, and well-documented resource. Approached as a biography or a historical analysis, it will only be a disappointment. In fact, that feeling of disappointment is often underscored while reading through the book, as the chapters of his activities (which follow a calendar format) are prefaced first by a few pages of narrative that summarizes his life through the dates you are about to read through. Very often I would be reading the narratives and wishing that the whole book was like that, but then I would just have to remember that this was not the author’s intent.

For those of you who are looking to be introduced to any kind of biography of Booth or any kind of theory about the assassination, this book is not the right place to start. But for those of you who already have a good knowledge of either and are looking to acquire more facts and details, this book is well worth consulting and is a needed addition to the Lincoln canon. ( )
  setheredge | Mar 14, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A lot of detailed information about John Wilkes Booth. I'll admit that after I was about half way thru the book I just skimmed the daily activities and read the narratives. If someone wants to learn about the day-to-day activities then this is definitely the book for them. ( )
  CharlesSvec | Mar 7, 2015 |
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The author self-published a preliminary version of this book (in a different format) in 1990, using the same title. The initial run was only twelve copies, but the author issued additional copies as requested through the years. The earlier version of "John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day" should not be combined with this updated version published by McFarland in 2014.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786495278, Paperback)

By 1865, at the age of 26, Booth had much to lose: a loving family, hosts of friends, adoring women, professional success as one of America's foremost actors, and the promise of yet more fame and fortune. Yet he formed a daring conspiracy to abduct Lincoln and barter him for Confederate prisoners of war. The Civil War ended before Booth could carry out his plan, so he assassinated the president, believing him to be a tyrant who had turned the once-proud Union into an engine of oppression that had devastated the South.

This book gives a day-by-day account of Booth's complex life--from his birth May 10, 1838, to his death April 26, 1865, and the aftermath--and offers a new understanding of the crime that shocked a nation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:13 -0400)

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