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Extended Audio Sample Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincolns Killer Audiobook, by James L. Swanson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (11,483 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James L. Swanson Narrator: Richard Thomas Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2006 ISBN: 9780061134685
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The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history -- the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry troops on a wild, twelve-day chase from the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia.

At the very center of this story is John Wilkes Booth, Americas notorious villain. A confederate sympathizer and member of a celebrated acting family, Booth threw away his fame, wealth, and promise for a chance to avenge the Souths defeat. For almost two weeks, he confounded the manhunters, slipping away from their every move and denying the justice they sought.

Manhunt is a fully documented work, but it is also a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as youve never read it before.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “James Swanson has written a terrific narrative…a triumphant book.”

    Doris Kearns Goodwin. #1 New York Times bestselling author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

  • “Brilliant! Absolutely haunting…This historical book is almost impossible to put down.”

    Patricia Cornwell, bestselling author

  • “An action-adventure…infuse[d] with high drama…A multifaceted chronicle.”

    New York Times

  • “Told expertly…Swanson’s moment by moment account of the 12-day chase is compulsively readable.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A gripping page-turner…Riveting…Booth comes across as viscerally real. Grade: A.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Extraordinary…Brilliant…As gripping as any tightly scripted crime drama.”

    Boston Globe

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Fact Crime
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A 2007 Audie Award Finalist
  • Audio Publisher’s Association “Audie” Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becki | 1/30/2014

    " As a former history major who still devours nonfiction with a focus on U.S. history, I've read a lot of books on Lincoln. I mean, a lot. Yet none had the attention to detail in regard to the assassination as 'Manhunt.' I think I gave this one a 5 star instead of a 4 because I work in DC in a building that is behind the Petersen House. I walk the streets mentioned in the book very day, and it gave me the unique ability to see exactly where Booth and the other conspirators walked and rode that night in my minds eye as I read. I know exactly how long it takes to walk from The Willard (now the W) to the White House or to the Theater. I walk down F every day. I've been to Southern Maryland and been to Mudd's house (where they still preach that he didn't know who his visitors were, but we know he wasn't telling the truth...) it gave this reading experience the push it needed for the story to come alive in my head, but that's also thanks to the meticulous attention to detail and research in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Ware | 1/27/2014

    " An enthralling read about Lincoln's assassination and the search for John Wilkes Booth. If you are interested in this period of history, it is a must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 1/25/2014

    " As the title suggests, this history portrays the days and weeks following Lincoln's assassination. Not being a big history buff, I was entirely unaware of some of the plotting that surrounded Lincoln in the later days of the Civil War, nor how little plotting surrounded the actual assassination. Interesting history that reads like a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelsey | 1/6/2014

    " I'm always amazed how little I know (or remember) about US history. The story of John Wilkes Booth's escape and manhunt was a fascinating read, and I learned so much about the details surrounding the assassination of Lincoln that I never knew. Swanson included an amazing level of detail taken from journals, telegrams, letters, and first-hand accounts. His writing style was a bit dramatic at times, and I didn't always care for his speculations. But both of those details were easy to overlook. I visited Ford Theater and the Peterson House last fall and wish I would have read this book first! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kebolek | 1/2/2014

    " I found this book extremely interesting, but I love books that are historically accurate. The author does a fantastic job of taking the reader on this journey without making it a list of facts and historical locations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/1/2014

    " This book is really interesting, giving the reader a close-up view of all that John Wilkes Booth did and went through during the 12 days he evaded the law. There's a lot of detail in the book, and I could tell that Swanson definitely did the research. First-hand sources and accounts add richness and depth to the narrative. My main complaint is that Swanson is perhaps a bit too sympathetic to Booth - during Booth's death, for example, Swanson makes a couple of comparisons between Booth and Jesus. He seems to view Booth with at least a little admiration, while on the other hand disdaining some of his co-conspirators. That said, if you want an in-depth look at how the most wanted man in America managed to escape his certain doom for 12 days, this is the book for you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stansherman | 12/26/2013

    " A must read for history buffs. Could not put it down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Pat | 12/25/2013

    " This book was really interesting. Although I knew about the subject, it was a great play-by-play of the days following the Lincoln assisination. Plus it helped me continue celebrating the year of Lincoln! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bita | 12/17/2013

    " I really liked this book. I thought it would be a drag, but it is quite exciting to read. It takes you back in time, hard to imagine these places used to be the way they were. Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy | 12/4/2013

    " Loved this book. Highly recommend. Tend to read mostly fiction but this was so well written, you'll never know you're reading nonfiction. This book has gotten me on a history kick! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 11/17/2013

    " I loved the detail of this excited non-fiction thriller. After reading the book I watched several videos on the assassination and was disappointed by their lack of detail. Good Read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 11/5/2013

    " As much as I love history and true crime, I wasn't sure I was going to like or even finish this book when I got it. I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. It moves quickly and was quite informative. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brendan | 10/11/2013

    " Fascinating history. Swanson gives a great feel for the period, and I learned a lot of social details about the era, but I was a bit disappointed by the quality of the writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kadi | 9/29/2013

    " This was the best history book I've ever read!(And I am definitely not a history person.) I couldn't wait to find out how John Wilkes Booth gets caught, and I even found myself rooting for him to get away. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Pinter | 9/12/2013

    " If you enjoy American History this reads like a mystery. Terrific "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 11/25/2012

    " I enjoyed this book. I learned things that I just never knew before. Some misconceptions I learned at school. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryan Ross | 9/28/2012

    " This is a must-read. Do it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanya W | 7/21/2012

    " Several years ago I read three books about President Lincoln in quick succession and this was one of them. It was a good read... and very interesting and captivating despite the fact that we all know how it's going to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danjel Lessard | 6/26/2012

    " This is another book that helped get me more interested in the history of the US. it was an engaging read, and - even though you knew the eventual outcome - kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 4/12/2012

    " Almost done reading this one for my book club. Love it, love it, love it!! The book takes the reader through the 12 days following Lincoln's assassination. As the author's note states this story "is far too incredible to have ever been made up." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krisette Spangler | 4/12/2012

    " There were so many things I didn't know about the Lincoln assassination before I read this book. Swanson did a great job of laying out the story of Booth and his conspirators. The story gets a little bogged down in a few places with too much detail, but overall it was great. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sonya Carlson | 10/28/2011

    " A detailed description of Booth's escape. Sometimes it over estimates what people might have been thinking "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 5/22/2011

    " This was an engaging read. I enjoyed the detailed journey from the days just before Lincoln was assassinated to the death of John Wilkes Booth. This is a book aimed at 14 to 17 year olds, but it had enough history to appeal to an adult. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 5/19/2011

    " writing wasn't up to 4 stars, but the content was. I learned quite a few things I hadn't known. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 5/18/2011

    " Another historical thriller about the government's pursuit of John Wilkes booth. Well-researched, reads very quickly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie | 5/13/2011

    " The book is what it says it is--and Booth's story is pretty remarkable. Reads quickly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johnny | 5/12/2011

    " Good quick read. I liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paula | 5/12/2011

    " An exciting read. Full of insights into the crazed period after Lincoln's assassination. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zach | 5/10/2011

    " The tale of the chase for John Wilkes Booth, all backed by the historical undercurrent of the time. A strong narrative with context: It's everything non-fiction should be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kacy | 5/5/2011

    " Absolutely riveting. Could not put this one down. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in civil war era history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 5/5/2011

    " Great Book. This should be a movie, page tuner at its best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracey | 5/2/2011

    " I liked the book a lot, especially because it can be used so well in the classroom! It is full of pictures of artifacts from the time period. All of the text is taken from letters, interviews, etc. Well worth the read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 4/30/2011

    " This was a great read. It's history that anyone can read because Swanson just pulls you through and keeps the hunt moving and it never feels like a heavy history text. I learned a lot and left ready to learn more! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 4/24/2011

    " Exciting book, although I did not retain many of the copious details. Books where you are reminded that history is fascinating are the bomb! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 4/22/2011

    " Reads like a mystery novel rather than a non-fiction account of a terrible period of our history. We know the basic story, this takes you inside of the actual events with insight into the players and their actions, "

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About the Author
Author James L. Swanson

James L. Swanson is the Edgar Award–winning author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. His other books include the acclaimed photographic history Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution, as well as Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, and adaptations of Manhunt and Bloody Crimes for young readers. Swanson was born on Lincoln’s birthday.

About the Narrator

Richard Thomas, a film and television actor, is best known for his role as John-Boy Walton on the CBS television series, The Waltons. His performance earned him a Primetime Emmy, as well as two Golden Globe nominations. Also an audiobook narrator, he has read numerous books, including John Grisham’s Theodore Boone series.