American Brutus : John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln conspiracies

by Kauffman, Michael W.

Format: Print Book 2004
Availability: Available at 6 Libraries 6 of 6 copies
Available (6)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Brookline Non-Fiction Collection E457.5.K38 2004
Location  CLP - Brookline
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  E457.5.K38 2004
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E457.5.K38 2004
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E457.5.K38 2004
Green Tree Public Library Adult Nonfiction 364.152 KAU
Location  Green Tree Public Library
Collection  Adult Nonfiction
Call Number  364.152 KAU
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 364.152 K16
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  364.152 K16
Sewickley Public Library Nonfiction 364.152 KAU 2004
Location  Sewickley Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  364.152 KAU 2004
Upper St. Clair Township Library Non-fiction 973.7095 KAU
Location  Upper St. Clair Township Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  973.7095 KAU
It is a tale as familiar as our history primers: A deranged actor, John Wilkes Booth, killed Abraham Lincoln in Ford's Theatre, escaped on foot, and eluded capture for twelve days until he met his fiery end in a Virginia tobacco barn. In the national hysteria that followed, eight others were arrested and tried; four of those were executed, four imprisoned. Therein lie all the classic elements of a great thriller. But the untold tale is even more fascinating.

Now, in American Brutus , Michael W. Kauffman, one of the foremost Lincoln assassination authorities, takes familiar history to a deeper level, offering an unprecedented, authoritative account of the Lincoln murder conspiracy. Working from a staggering array of archival sources and new research, Kauffman sheds new light on the background and motives of John Wilkes Booth, the mechanics of his plot to topple the Union government, and the trials and fates of the conspirators.

Piece by piece, Kauffman explains and corrects common misperceptions and analyzes the political motivation behind Booth's plan to unseat Lincoln, in whom the assassin saw a treacherous autocrat, "an American Caesar." In preparing his study, Kauffman spared no effort getting at the truth: He even lived in Booth's house, and re-created key parts of Booth's escape. Thanks to Kauffman's discoveries, readers will have a new understanding of this defining event in our nation's history, and they will come to see how public sentiment about Booth at the time of the assassination and ever since has made an accurate account of his actions and motives next to impossible-until now.

In nearly 140 years there has been an overwhelming body of literature on the Lincoln assassination, much of it incomplete and oftentimes contradictory. In American Brutus , Kauffman finally makes sense of an incident whose causes and effects reverberate to this day. Provocative, absorbing, utterly cogent, at times controversial, this will become the definitive text on a watershed event in American history.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In this thorough review of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Kauffman seems to have examined everything--documents, places, and artifacts--related to the case. He reports having spent 400 hours in the assassin's home, indicating his dedication to unearthing all the facts about the plots of John Wilkes Booth. Fortunately, dedication doesn't degenerate into obsession with any single angle: Kauffman announces no astounding revelation--such as a link between the assassin and the Confederate government. He does stress, however, the forensic sloppiness of the investigation, albeit without insinuating the wrong people were caught, tried, and hanged. While joining the historical chorus that innkeeper Mary Surratt, whatever her knowledge of the plotters, might not have deserved the rope, Kauffman's tracking of Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt doesn't clear them of consorting with Booth. A levelheaded analysis of the evolution of Booth's plans, Kauffman's book will satisfy the enduring interest in Lincoln's murder. --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Kauffman, an independent Lincoln assassination scholar, offers a beautifully written, exhaustive and well-reasoned reassessment of John Wilkes Booth and the murder of America's 16th president. The story Kauffman tells, though highly familiar, is also byzantine enough to still capture our attention. More importantly, Kauffman puts a new spin on well-worn data, adding a riveting reinterpretation that paints Booth as a ruthless player of complex games: a darkly brilliant manipulator of people, not all of whom realized what they were a part of until after Lincoln lay dead. Booth reveled in creating false impressions and planting strategic misinformation. One example involves Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set Booth's fractured leg before learning of the assassination and then, frightened for his life, made the mistake of denying knowing the actor. Years later, Gen. David Hunter-ranking member of the military commission that tried and sentenced Mudd to prison-commented: "The Court never believed that Dr. Mudd knew anything about Booth's designs. Booth made him a tool as he had done others." Kauffman's Booth is, in the end, a crazed but skilled puppetmaster who, as part of his endgame, needed to make sure that most of his puppets joined him in martyrdom for the Confederate cause. "Booth immortalized himself by staging one of history's greatest dramas," Kauffman writes. "In the process, he accomplished what every actor aspires to do: he made us all wonder where the play ended and reality began." Photos not seen by PW. (On sale Nov. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865 -- Assassination.
Booth, John Wilkes, -- 1838-1865.
Publisher New York :Random House,2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description xvi, 508 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [401]-488) and index.
ISBN 9780375759741 (trade paperback)
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