Manhunt


Manhunt, by James L. Swanson

15/30 | Started 03.28.21 • Finished 04.19.22 | 3.5 stars


I learned a bunch from reading this book club choice! I'd never really read anything about Lincoln's assassination nor the subsequent manhunt for John Wilkes Booth. Swanson shares a wealth of information and it's clear from the notes at the end of the book that he did an incredible amount of research for this book. He took a very well-known story and made it new and accessible just by sharing the facts - albeit in a riveting fashion.


One of the things I found most fascinating was how even then the media played such an important role in the misinformation about the assassination itself as well as the whereabouts of Booth. It's not just a modern problem! Of course the misplays by the media weren't as easily widespread as they are nowadays but they still factored heavily in the public's opinion of the events and the officials' handling of the chase.


I was also taken with how long Booth was able to evade capture, especially with a broken leg and limited resources. His several day stint in the pine thicket was borderline unbelievable. I enjoyed this historical read about as much as I could given that it's not a genre toward which I typically lean. Lovers of Civil War era history or Abraham Lincoln or presidential assassinations would like this work very much.

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