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.
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. Download and start listening now!