I’m not even sure where I stumbled across this book, but for some reason it seemed really intriguing and I ended up purchasing it on a whim and deciding that it would be the next book that I’d read. As I’ve mentioned many, many times before on this site, I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to history, so I figured this book would help to fill in a few more gaps in knowledge for me.
Using an absolutely heaping amount of transcribed witness events both from the event and the ensuing chase, James L. Swanson has put together an incredibly interesting read with Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. The writing style is fairly loose, but doesn’t seem to contain quite as much “guessed” perception as a book like The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson. To me, it felt like it had a nice balance of doling out a lot of very specific historical information alongside a lot of the aforementioned personal recollections of the time.
Because of the above, it was an informative book that was also quite entertaining. Over the course of high school and college I’d read little bits here and there about the murder of Lincoln, but had never really gotten the full background. This book gave me just what I was interested in, and also provided me with a bit of a nudge to possibly start the massive (3 volumes, 3000 pages) set on the Civil War by Shelby Foote that’s still sitting shrinkwrapped on my bookshelf.