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Download My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy Audiobook, by Nora Titone Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.2 out of 54.2 out of 54.2 out of 54.2 out of 54.2 out of 5 4.20 (5 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nora Titone Narrator: John Bedford Lloyd Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2010 ISBN: 9781442337503
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Nora Titone’s energetic narrative persuades a reader that history must add to its indictment of Booth the crime of fratricide.” 

    Thomas Mallon, author of Henry and Clara

  • “This book promises to stimulate lively historical debate, and will be a treat for every Civil War buff who always pondered that haunting question, ‘What made him pull that trigger?’ Bravo on a marvelous subject. 

    Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval

  • “Titone’s account paints a colorful panorama of 19th-century theatrical life, with its endless drunken touring through frontier backwaters and showbiz pratfalls. Neither deep nor tragic, her John Wilkes is oddly convincing: the first of the grandiose hollow men in America’s cast of assassins.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “John Bedford Lloyd offers a solid, even reading. His voice has a serious, slightly rough-hewn tone that exactly suits this work.” 

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 3/22/2011

    " This book was so informative, and quite enjoyable, too. I learned so much about the Booth family and the events leading up to Lincoln's assassination. Next up, Manhunt, all about the days after. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 3/16/2011

    " Not perfectly written, but a great read nonetheless. I found the story absolutely fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vanessa | 2/9/2011

    " Great as an audiobook. Love the reader!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 1/16/2011

    " This book is amazing. You just can't make this stuff up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joline | 12/31/2010

    " Much of this book is as engrossing as any novel I have read in recent years. The author's approach is that the rivalry between the Booth brothers to assume the position of world's best actor--their father's legacy--is a tale that Shakespeare could have written.
    "

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About the Author
Nora Titone studied American History and Literature as an undergraduate at Harvard University, and earned an M.A. in History at the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked as a historical researcher for a range of academics, writers and artists involved in projects about nineteenth-century America.  She lives in Chicago and this is her first book. 
About the Narrator

John Bedford Lloyd, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, has appeared in many major motion pictures, including The Bourne Supremacy, Crossing Delancey, The Abyss, The Manchurian Candidate, and Philadelphia. His television credits include Suits, Pan Am, Law & Order, Spin City, and The West Wing. A critically acclaimed audiobook narrator and winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award, his voice work includes reading for such authors as Michael Crichton, Nicholas Sparks, Paul Doiron, and Atul Gawande, among others. He is the winner of three AudioFile Earphones Awards.