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Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase For Lincoln's Killer

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Taylor Vidmar

on 12 May 2015

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Transcript of Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase For Lincoln's Killer

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase For Lincoln's Killer
Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer
By James L. Swanson
Nonfiction
James L. Swanson has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, American Heritage, and many other publications. Manhunt,written in 2009, was a New York Time's bestseller. Some of his other works include Bloody Crimes, End of Days, and Chasing Lincoln's Killer, which is a young-adult adaptation of Manhunt. Swanson lives in Washington D.C.
About James L. Swanson
Brief Plot Summary
Setting
John Wilkes Booth's Escape Route
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer follows John Wilkes Booth's plan to assassinate Abraham Lincoln from the moment the idea was first planted in his head to the day the manhunt finally ended. Manhunt introduces a distinctive cast of characters that starred in the most significant performance of John Wilkes Booth's life: the assassination of the sixteenth president of the United States and the manhunt that ensued. Manhunt describes the chaotic chase for Booth in impeccable detail, telling the story from the perspective of both the pursuers, and the pursued.
Although there is no specific setting, the majority of Manhunt takes place in the spring of 1865, from April 14th to April 26th. This story occurs in the streets, forests, and swamps of Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
John Wilkes Booth was born on May 10th, 1838. John was the second youngest child of the Booth family, one of the most famous theatrical families of the 19th century. He was a proud Confederate who despised the idea of abolishing slavery, and hated Abraham Lincoln so much that he assassinated the president on April 14th, 1865. Over the course of the story Booth changed from someone who was proud of his crime, to someone who nearly regretted it.
Main Character: John Wilkes Booth
The main struggle of John Wilkes Booth was to accept the fact that assassinating Abraham Lincoln did not make him the hero he thought it would. It made him a villain.
John Wilkes Booth's Main Struggle
Lewis Powell was born on April 22nd 1844. Powell, also known to some as Payne, was part of the plan to assassinate the President and important members of the cabinet. He viciously stabbed Secretary of State William H. Seward, but did not succeed in killing him. Although Powell conspired with Booth during the assassination, did not aid Booth during his escape from the government.
Lewis Powell
David Herold was born on June 16th, 1842. He was Booth's main accomplice in his escape from the government. Although Herold did not kill or attempt to kill anyone, he did guide Lewis Powell to Secretary of State Seward's home, then met Booth after as he fled Washington D.C. Herold accompanied Booth for all but one day of the manhunt.
David Herold
Samuel Mudd was born on December 20th, 1833. Mudd was a doctor that lived in Bryantown, Maryland. Although Mudd adamantly denied it, many historians agree that he knew Booth before the great manhunt of 1865. Mudd aided in Booth's escape by harboring Booth and Herold at his home for the first day of the manhunt.
Samuel Mudd
Thomas Jones was born in 1820. Jones was one of the most famous Confederate spies of the Civil War. Jones helped John Wilkes Booth and David Herold hide in a pine thicket in the woods for six days then sold them his boat so they could travel to Virginia. Although he was arrested for his part in the manhunt, he was released in the summer of 1865.
Thomas Jones
Laura Keene was born on July 20th, 1826 in Winchester, England. She was a stage actress and manager. Keene traveled the world to pursue her many talents in the theatre. Keene was starring in a performance of "Our American Cousin" the night Lincoln was shot. She did not aid Booth in any way during the assassination or manhunt.
Laura Keene
Most Interesting Character
Laura Keene, starring in the performance of "Our American Cousin" the night of April 14th, 1865, made her way up to the President's box after she noticed he had been shot. When she entered, she asked if she could cradle the President's head in her lap. No one protested. "Laura Keene, like a Victorian bride who lovingly preserved her wedding dress as a sacred memento of her happiest day, cherished the blood- and brain-speckled frock from this terrible night."
Mood/Theme
There is no specific theme to this book, however, the mood was at times sad, but mostly intense and action-packed. The book is mostly intense because it includes so many details about John Wilkes Booth's chase from the man hunters, that you feel as though you are running from the government with him.
Did You Like This Book?
John Wilkes Booth's Diary Entry: Friday April 21st, 1865
"I am here in despair. And why; For doing what Brutus was honored for, what made Tell a Hero. And yet I for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew am looked upon as a common cutthroat. [...] I hope for no gain. I knew no private wrong. I struck for my country and that alone. A country groaned beneath this tyranny and prayed for this end. Yet now behold the cold hand they extend to me. "
Yes!!
I would recommend this book for anyone that is high school age and up because there is a lot of information to take in.
What I remember most from this book are a lot of details about the manhunt that I didn't know before.
If You Want to Know...
How John Wilkes Booth escaped from Washington, D.C. the night he assassinated Abraham Lincoln
What really happened during the 12 day chase for Booth
And Most Importantly...
How the manhunt ended
Read Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
Full transcript