Chasing Lincoln's Killer Book Summary - Chasing Lincoln's Killer Book explained in key points

Chasing Lincoln's Killer summary

James L. Swanson

Brief summary

Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson is a historical account of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the thrilling 12-day manhunt that followed, ultimately leading to the capture of John Wilkes Booth.

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    Chasing Lincoln's Killer
    Summary of key ideas

    The Chase Begins

    In Chasing Lincoln's Killer, James L. Swanson takes us on an intense 12-day manhunt for President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and his accomplice, David Herold. The chase begins immediately after Booth shoots President Lincoln at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865. Despite breaking his leg, Booth manages to escape and John tries his futile journey to elude the Union forces chasing him.

    Swanson immerses us in Booth's desperate attempts to evade capture by retreating into southern Maryland, seeking medical help, and joining up with Herold, a key co-conspirator. They rely on the help of sympathetic Southern supporters while being pursued relentlessly by federal forces. Meanwhile, a shocked nation mourns Lincoln's untimely death.

    Road to Captivity

    The narrative progresses with the fugitives risking everything, heading deeper into Confederate territory, hoping for safe refuge. Booth's misguided belief that he would be hailed as a hero disintegrates gradually, replaced by frustration, fear, and regret. Nevertheless, Booth, the accomplished actor, plots to stage a final, dramatic standoff.

    Simultaneously, the federal forces are drawing closer. Swanson chronicles their urgent strategy sessions and the deployment of troops in pursuit, expressing the nationwide clamor for justice. The resolve of the Union soldiers is palpified as they relentlessly trace Booth's footsteps, facing the harsh elements and strategic misdirection.

    The Final Act

    The climax of Chasing Lincoln's Killer unfolds at a farm in Virginia, where the fugitives are finally cornered. Incapacitated by his injury and exhausted from the chase, Booth is trapped in a burning barn, where he refuses to surrender. In a tragic encounter, Booth is fatally shot, and Herold is arrested.

    Swanson meticulously depicts the dramatic finale of Booth's life, convincingly portraying his final moments. He also sheds light on the immediate reactions, ignited by a mix of relief and desolation, and sets the stage for Herold's subsequent trial.

    Retributive Justice

    In the final chapters, Chasing Lincoln's Killer presents the aftermath of Booth's death. Herold and the other accomplices face a military trial and are duly sentenced. While some are pardoned eventually, four of the co-conspirators, including Mary Surratt, the first woman executed by the U.S. government, are hanged.

    In conclusion, James L. Swanson offers a thrilling account of one of the most dramatic manhunts in American history. Chasing Lincoln's Killer is a vivid portrayal of the determined pursuit of justice, a tragic end to a deluded assassin, and the collective mourning of a nation for their fallen leader.

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    What is Chasing Lincoln's Killer about?

    This non-fiction book tells the gripping story of the 12-day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, Swanson brings to life the events surrounding Lincoln's assassination and the pursuit of his killer. It offers a fascinating and detailed account of a pivotal moment in American history.

    Chasing Lincoln's Killer Review

    Chasing Lincoln's Killer (2009) recounts the thrilling story of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the intense manhunt that followed. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Utilizing meticulous research and gripping storytelling, it brings to life the events surrounding the assassination with vivid detail and suspense.
    • Featuring a cast of compelling historical figures, including John Wilkes Booth and the soldiers pursuing him, the book offers a fascinating glimpse into this pivotal moment in American history.
    • With its fast-paced narrative and intriguing insights into the motivations behind Lincoln's assassination, the book ensures that readers are captivated from beginning to end.

    Who should read Chasing Lincoln's Killer?

    • History buffs who enjoy learning about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
    • Readers interested in American Civil War history and its impact on the nation
    • True crime enthusiasts who enjoy reading about historical events and investigations

    About the Author

    James L. Swanson is an American author and historian who has written several books on the Civil War era. His book "Chasing Lincoln's Killer" provides a gripping account of the 12-day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. Swanson's meticulous research and engaging storytelling bring to life the dramatic events surrounding one of the most significant moments in American history. His other notable works include "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer" and "Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse."

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    Chasing Lincoln's Killer FAQs 

    What is the main message of Chasing Lincoln's Killer?

    The main message of Chasing Lincoln's Killer is the intense manhunt for Abraham Lincoln's assassin.

    How long does it take to read Chasing Lincoln's Killer?

    The reading time for Chasing Lincoln's Killer varies, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Chasing Lincoln's Killer a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Chasing Lincoln's Killer is a captivating historical account that is worth reading. It offers a fascinating insight into the aftermath of Lincoln's assassination.

    Who is the author of Chasing Lincoln's Killer?

    The author of Chasing Lincoln's Killer is James L. Swanson.

    What to read after Chasing Lincoln's Killer?

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