My thoughts be bloody : the bitter rivalry between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth that led to an American tragedy

by Titone, Nora,

Format: Print Book 2010
Availability: Available at 5 Libraries 5 of 5 copies
Available (5)
Location Collection Call #
Andrew Carnegie Free Library Civil War 973.7092 BOOTH
Location  Andrew Carnegie Free Library
Collection  Civil War
Call Number  973.7092 BOOTH
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E457.5.T57 2010
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E457.5.T57 2010
Carnegie Library of Homestead Non Fiction 92 Boot
Location  Carnegie Library of Homestead
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  92 Boot
Northland Public Library Biography B BOOTH
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  B BOOTH
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 92 BOOTH
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  92 BOOTH
The scene of John Wilkes Booth shooting Abraham Lincoln in Ford's Theatre is among the most vivid and indelible images in American history. The literal story of what happened on April 14, 1865, is familiar: Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth, a lunatic enraged by the Union victory and the prospect of black citizenship. Yet who Booth really was--besides a killer--is less well known. The magnitude of his crime has obscured for generations a startling personal story that was integral to his motivation. My Thoughts Be Bloody, a sweeping family saga, revives an extraordinary figure whose name has been missing, until now, from the story of President Lincoln's death. Edwin Booth, John Wilkes's older brother by four years, was in his day the biggest star of the American stage. He won his celebrity at the precocious age of nineteen, before the Civil War began, when John Wilkes was a schoolboy. Without an account of Edwin Booth, author Nora Titone argues, the real story of Lincoln's assassin has never been told. Using an array of private letters, diaries, and reminiscences of the Booth family, Titone has uncovered a hidden history that reveals the reasons why John Wilkes Booth became this country's most notorious assassin. These ambitious brothers, born to theatrical parents, enacted a tale of mutual jealousy and resentment worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy. From childhood, the stage-struck brothers were rivals for the approval of their father, legendary British actor Junius Brutus Booth. After his death, Edwin and John Wilkes were locked in a fierce contest to claim his legacy of fame. This strange family history and powerful sibling rivalry were the crucibles of John Wilkes's character, exacerbating his political passions and driving him into a life of conspiracy. To re-create the lost world of Edwin and John Wilkes Booth, this book takes readers on a panoramic tour of nineteenth-century America, from the streets of 1840s Baltimore to the gold fields of California, from the jungles of the Isthmus of Panama to the glittering mansions of Gilded Age New York. Edwin, ruthlessly competitive and gifted, did everything he could to lock his younger brother out of the theatrical game. As he came of age, John Wilkes found his plans for stardom thwarted by his older sibling's meteoric rise. Their divergent paths--Edwin's an upward race to riches and social prominence, and John's a downward spiral into failure and obscurity--kept pace with the hardening of their opposite political views and their mutual dislike. The details of the conspiracy to kill Lincoln have been well documented elsewhere. My Thoughts Be Bloody tells a new story, one that explains for the first time why Lincoln's assassin decided to conspire against the president in the first place, and sets that decision in the context of a bitterly divided family--and nation. By the end of this riveting journey, readers will see Abraham Lincoln's death less as the result of the war between the North and South and more as the climax of a dark struggle between two brothers who never wore the uniform of soldiers, except on stage.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "If one chooses to do so, one could probably discover a complex of personal demons that supposedly motivated every lone political assassin. So Oswald was acting out his frustration over his failures as a husband and political activist. Sirhan Sirhan was seeking relief from loneliness rather than striking a blow for Palestine. And so on and so on to the point of absurd psychobabble. Yet, given the limitations inherent in such efforts, this is actually a very well-done examination of the trials and tribulations of a remarkable family. The family patriarch, Junius, was a heralded Shakespearean actor, an alcoholic, and an often emotionally abusive parent. His favored son, Edwin, was generally regarded as the greatest American actor of the nineteenth century. Then there was poor John desperate for his father's approval, intensely jealous of his brother, and frustrated by his reputation as a mediocre performer. Titone does a fine job of contrasting the personalities and even the acting styles of the brothers. Her portrait of Edwin as a decent man haunted by his brother's act is often moving.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This account of the fraternal conflict between Edwin Booth-one of the most acclaimed Shakespearean actors of his era-and his less successful brother John Wilkes, who would soon achieve another, far darker brand of immortality for his own dramatic act, is read by John Bedford Lloyd, whose placid tone belies an undertone of menace. His reading is solid but uninspired-a surprising tone for a book that is itself about the lives of two singular dramatists. The audiobook also offers an introduction read by Doris Kearns Goodwin, who good-naturedly, if slightly awkwardly, pays tribute to the quality of Titone's scholarship. A Free Press hardcover. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Booth, John Wilkes, -- 1838-1865.
Booth, John Wilkes, -- 1838-1865 -- Family.
Booth, Edwin, -- 1833-1893.
Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865 -- Assassination.
Assassins -- United States -- Biography.
Actors -- United States -- Biography.
Brothers -- United States -- Biography.
Sibling rivalry -- United States -- Case studies.
Publisher New York :Free Press,2010
Edition 1at Free Press hardcover ed.
Language English
Description xii, 479 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [387]-455) and index.
ISBN 9781416586050
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