Today in History in Books

I’m skipping New Book Wednesday this week in favor of a Today in History entry. On this day in 1865, President Lincoln died. So, how about a few books about his assassination and death?


Manhunt by James L. Swanson recounts the 12 day search for John Wilkes Booth in the wake of his assassination of Lincoln.

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers is another fabulous story from former text book writer Steven Sheinkin. Remember, he’s the guy who feels so bad about having subjected kids to boring text books for so many years that he now writes these fabulously engaging and interesting books about history. In this book, Sheinkin recounts the story of a group of counterfeiters who planned to steal Lincoln’s body and hold it for ransom…$200,000 and the release of one of their members from prison.

Finally, Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation is a chonicle of her obsession with presidential assassinations and assassination attempts. In addition to other assassinations, she takes a look at the details surrounding the night at Ford’s Theater…the plans leading up to it and the days following. She also talks a lot about Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, whom she describes at the unluckiest man ever born. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with Vowell, in addition to being a witty writer and occasional daily show guest, she was the voice of Violet in The Incredibles.
Some other Lincoln assassination trivia. If you watch the TV show Bones, Booth (played by Philly native David Boreanaz, son of Channel 6 weatherman Dave Roberts) is supposed to be a descendant of JohnWilkes Booth. Booth’s brother Edwin once owned the Walnut Street Theatre here in Philadelphia. And in Assassination Vacation, Vowell does at one point end up at the Mutter Museum!


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