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Lincoln's Assassins: Their Trial and…
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Lincoln's Assassins: Their Trial and Execution

by James L. Swanson, Daniel R. Weinberg

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".....what this book Is NOT. It is not a complete history of the great crime of the nineteenth century--the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Nor is it a biography of his murderer, John Wilkes Booth, or the actor's band of conspirators. It is not a full account of the events of April, 14, 1865, of what happened at Ford's Theater, , of the assassin's escape into the night, or of the deathbed vigil for the president.

Instead this is a book about what happened after the assassination--after the frantic hunt for Booth and his accomplices was over......." ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
An excellent addition to any Civil War historian's collection. Many of the items and pictures included have either never been seen before in book form before or are presented in a new light. Most interesting is the series of photos taken by photographer Gardner. They are a series of shots of the hanging, beginning with the empty gallows, the arrival of the condemned, the reading of the sentences, the hooding and the tying of the legs of the condemned, and concluding with a rare action shot of the victims struggling in their nooses and one final shot taken of the dead and now still conspirators. The last two are especially chilling. These photographs, along with the obsessive collecting of souvenirs done, illustrate perfectly the ghoulish Victorian obsession with memorializing death.

All in all, a very illustrative view of the assassination, the conspirators, the trial, the hanging and the aftermath of all four. As a side note, the main author of this book, "James L. Swanson" would write additional books in the Civil War canon. The first is "Manhunt!" all about John Wilkes Booth's flight from Washington and the subsequent manhunt to find him. The other is "Bloody Crimes" which concerns the funeral train of President Lincoln and the last days of President Davis' presidency. Both are very exciting and would look at home on any Civil War historian's bookshelf. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 4, 2015 |
An excellent addition to any Civil War historian's collection. Many of the items and pictures included have either never been seen before in book form before or are presented in a new light. Most interesting is the series of photos taken by photographer Gardner. They are a series of shots of the hanging, beginning with the empty gallows, the arrival of the condemned, the reading of the sentences, the hooding and the tying of the legs of the condemned, and concluding with a rare action shot of the victims struggling in their nooses and one final shot taken of the dead and now still conspirators. The last two are especially chilling. These photographs, along with the obsessive collecting of souvenirs done, illustrate perfectly the ghoulish Victorian obsession with memorializing death.

All in all, a very illustrative view of the assassination, the conspirators, the trial, the hanging and the aftermath of all four. As a side note, the main author of this book, "James L. Swanson" would write additional books in the Civil War canon. The first is "Manhunt!" all about John Wilkes Booth's flight from Washington and the subsequent manhunt to find him. The other is "Bloody Crimes" which concerns the funeral train of President Lincoln and the last days of President Davis' presidency. Both are very exciting and would look at home on any Civil War historian's bookshelf. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 3, 2015 |
An excellent addition to any Civil War historian's collection. Many of the items and pictures included have either never been seen before in book form before or are presented in a new light. Most interesting is the series of photos taken by photographer Gardner. They are a series of shots of the hanging, beginning with the empty gallows, the arrival of the condemned, the reading of the sentences, the hooding and the tying of the legs of the condemned, and concluding with a rare action shot of the victims struggling in their nooses and one final shot taken of the dead and now still conspirators. The last two are especially chilling. These photographs, along with the obsessive collecting of souvenirs done, illustrate perfectly the ghoulish Victorian obsession with memorializing death.

All in all, a very illustrative view of the assassination, the conspirators, the trial, the hanging and the aftermath of all four. As a side note, the main author of this book, "James L. Swanson" would write additional books in the Civil War canon. The first is "Manhunt!" all about John Wilkes Booth's flight from Washington and the subsequent manhunt to find him. The other is "Bloody Crimes" which concerns the funeral train of President Lincoln and the last days of President Davis' presidency. Both are very exciting and would look at home on any Civil War historian's bookshelf. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 3, 2015 |
Having just seen the new movie The Conspirator (2011, directed by Robert Redford), I was faced with the realization that, despite a life-long fascination with and admiration for Abraham Lincoln, I knew very little about the events that occurred following his assassination. The movie was thought-provoking enough to warrant me racing home from the theater and beginning to research how accurate the movie’s portrayal was. The movie’s website (http://www.conspiratorthemovie.com/) offers ample resources for those interested in learning more. However, the short answer to “was the movie accurate?” is that yes, indeed, it was accurate – and I was reassured by the involvement of historians during writing the script and filming.
So, it was under this pretense that I found myself picking up another James Swanson book. I had read Chasing Lincoln’s Killers when it came out and found it a nice concise look at the post-assassination and pre-trial events. This title, Lincoln’s Assassins, offers a bit more insight into the arrests, trial, and execution. However, readers need to be cautioned that, as Swanson himself states in the introduction, the book is not intended to be a complete account of events and, in fact, no such historical account exists. I suspect that Mr. Swanson is undoubtedly working on such an account; he seems perfect for the job given his previous works on Lincoln and obvious passion for this bit of history.

What the book does provide is a look at what citizens of the day were hearing and reading about the events. The introduction and the chapter summaries set the stage for what to expect, and, as warned, the book is mostly photos and news clippings detailing the arrests, trial and execution.

Was it enough? No. Did it whet my appetite for more? Most certainly. Will I pick up Swanson’s more concise book on the trial and execution that is sure to be forthcoming (but entirely a guess by me)? Most definitely. ( )
  JenniferMReads | Jun 22, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Swanson, James L.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weinberg, Daniel R.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The real war will never get in the books. In the mushy influences of current times, the fervid atmosphere and typical events of those years are in danger of being totally forgotten....Its interior history will never be written - its practicality, minutiae of deeds and passions, will never even be suggested...Think how much, and of importance, will be - how much, civic and military, has already been buried in the grave, in eternal darkness.
- Walt Whitman, Specimen Days
Dedication
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Perhaps at the outset we should say what this book is not. It is not a complete history of the great crime of the nineteenth century - the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Nor is it a biography of his murderer, John Wilkes Booth, or of the actor's band of conspirators. It is not a full account of the events of April 14, 1865, of what happened at Ford's Theatre, of the assassin's escape into the night, or of the deathbed vigil for the president.

Instead, this book is about what happened after the assassination - after the frantic hunt for Booth and his accomplices was over, after the mourning and the grand funeral procession for the nation's beloved president, after both Lincoln and his murderer were dead and buried. This book tells the story of what happened next, when eight alleged conspirators in the assassination were put on trial for their lives. (preface)
They are forgotten now, long buried in their graves. (Introduction)
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Book description
Illustrated history (including both photographs and paintings) of the arrest, trial, and execution of John Wilkes Booth's alleged co-conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. No index.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061237612, Hardcover)

Acclaimed as the definitive illustrated history of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, Lincoln's Assassins, by James L. Swanson and Daniel R. Weinberg, follows the shocking events from the tragic scene at Ford's Theatre to the trial and execution of Booth's co-conspirators. For twelve days after the president was shot, the nation waited breathlessly as manhunters tracked down John Wilkes Booth—the story that was brilliantly told in Swanson's New York Times bestseller, Manhunt. Then, during the spring and summer of 1865, a military commission tried eight people as conspirators in Booth's plot to murder Lincoln and other high officials, including the secretary of state and vice president. Few remember them today, but once the names Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, George Atzerodt, Edman Spangler, Samuel Arnold, Michael O'Laughlin, and Dr. Samuel Mudd were the most reviled and notorious in America.

In Lincoln's Assassins, Swanson and Weinberg resurrect these events by presenting an unprecedented visual record of almost 300 contemporary photographs, letters, documents, prints, woodcuts, newspapers, pamphlets, books, and artifacts, many hitherto unpublished. These rare materials, which took the authors decades to collect, evoke the popular culture of the time, record the origins of the Lincoln myth, take the reader into the courtroom and the cells of the accused, document the beginning of American photojournalism, and memorialize the fates of the eight conspirators.

Lincoln's Assassins is a unique work that will appeal to anyone interested in American history, Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, law, crime, assassination, nineteenth-century photographic portraiture, and the history of American photojournalism.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Traces the 1865 military trial of eight people accused of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Lincoln and other high officials.

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