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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

On the Hunt for a Killer

Manhunt by James L. Swanson

Stars: 5


Will you like this book? You might if you like:


Civil War History

Fast-paced Nonfiction

Narrative history

Historical True Crime


Time for a nonfiction break! I feel like I have been reading so much fiction (read romance) which has been great, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like I need a bit of a palate cleanser. Why not a book about the search for Lincoln’s killer?


The subtitle of this book is the 12-day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer and the sub-subtitle should be: a minute by minute account. Swanson’s book is in a similar vein to a Chernow biography; Swanson gives you all the details; he wants you to feel like you are hiding in the forest with Booth after his escape from D.C.


I don’t mean this as a criticism. So many people say that history is boring but this is not a boring book, no it keeps you engaged the entire time. You know Booth gets caught, but you are on tether hooks waiting for it to happen. The mark of a great historian, at least for me, is when they can make an event, where you KNOW the outcome, filled with tension.


I actually didn’t know too much about the hunt for Booth after Lincoln’s assasination so I was happy to jump into this book. I also had no idea that the original plan was to kill Secretary of State Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson. How different would the aftermath of the Civil War have been if Johnson had been killed as well?


So if you are someone that thinks they aren’t interested in history or believes that it is boring, give this book a chance, see if it changes your mind a bit.


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