The Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln by Kate Clifford Larson, Laural Merlington |, Audiobook (CD) | Barnes & Noble
Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln

Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln

by Kate Clifford Larson, Laural Merlington
     
 

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Set against the backdrop of the Civil War, The Assassin’s Accomplice tells the gripping story of the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln through experience of its only female participant.

Confederate sympathizer Mary Surratt ran a boarding house in Washington, and the depth of her complicity in the murder of President Lincoln has been debated

Overview


Set against the backdrop of the Civil War, The Assassin’s Accomplice tells the gripping story of the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln through experience of its only female participant.

Confederate sympathizer Mary Surratt ran a boarding house in Washington, and the depth of her complicity in the murder of President Lincoln has been debated since she was arrested on April 17, 1865.

Calling upon long-lost interviews, confessions, and court testimony, historian Kate Clifford Larson magnificently captures how Surratt’s actions defied nineteenth-century norms of piety and allegiance. A riveting account of espionage and murder, The Assassin’s Accomplice offers a revealing examination of America’s most remembered assassination.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mary Surratt was a Washington, D.C. tavern operator who was hanged for her role in the Abraham Lincoln assassination conspiracy. At the time of her speedy military tribunal and swift execution, Surratt's predicament generated considerable public debate about Southern resistance, Northern vengeance, and gender. History buffs will be enlightened by Larson's findings about the scope and scale of Confederate covert activity in the waning days of the Civil Wars. Laural Merlington does not get the opportunity to sink her teeth into the complicated human drama until rather late in the proceedings. Her portrayal of the emotionally-charged interactions between Surratt and her fragile young-adult daughter demonstrates her range as a performer, but such interludes prove rather fleeting. Larson's narrative remains tied to documentation and court transcripts, so listeners hoping for a full-blown 19th Century soap opera will need to turn elsewhere. A Basic Books hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 7).
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Library Journal

Larson (history, Simmons Coll.; Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero) makes a compelling argument that Mary Surratt was deeply involved in the plot to kill Lincoln. Reexamining the testimony of the principals in the plot and of contemporary observers and sifting out the many myths and misrepresentations as to the extent of the conspiracy to kill the President and other prominent leaders, Larson shows that Surratt and her son were tied to Confederate spy operations, intimate with John Wilkes Booth's purpose and planning, and, in Surratt's case, a direct agent in the deadly act. Larson notes that the hanging of Surratt began the doubts about her role, for it shocked conventions and ideas about Victorian womanhood, but Larson allays any reasonable doubt about Surratt's guilt in her careful recounting of the lives of the principals, the chronology and character of their associations, and the review of the court record. Larson has written a detective story that should settle the case. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.


—Randall M. Miller
Kirkus Reviews
The life and trial of the first woman to be executed by the federal government. President Andrew Johnson refused to commute the death sentence of widow and mother Mary Surratt for her role in the Lincoln conspiracy, consigning her to the gallows as the one who "kept the nest that hatched the egg." Already brutalized by four years of civil war and wild with rage at Lincoln's murder, the country had little sympathy for the boardinghouse keeper-that is, until her hanging. Her grisly execution shocked the nation's conscience, disturbing settled notions about feminine decorum. Was her trial a sham? Was her conviction a result of anti-Catholic bias? Was she wrongly turned in by witnesses looking to diminish their own intimacy with her co-conspirators? Larson (History/Simmons Coll.; Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, 2003) clearly establishes that "Mary Surratt was not only guilty, but was far more involved in the plot than many historians have given her credit for." Born in Maryland, Mary Jenkins converted early to Catholicism and at 16 married 26-year-old John Surratt, an abusive alcoholic who died in 1862, leaving her a townhouse on H Street in Washington, D.C. Through her son John Jr., a Confederate courier, she met the charismatic John Wilkes Booth. Young Surratt recruited a number of accomplices for Booth's dramatic plan, originally to kidnap, then to kill the president. At every step, it appears Surratt was deeply complicit. She ran innumerable errands for Booth, ferried weapons, hosted him and other plotters at the H Street house, covered for them at every opportunity, uttered ominous warnings to intimates about what was to happen and lied about itto investigators afterwards. Haughty and arrogant upon arrest, she remained a cool prisoner under harsh conditions. Tried before a military tribunal rather than a civil court-a controversial decision Larson appears to endorse-where rules prevented her from testifying on her own behalf and where she was ineptly represented, Surratt finally broke down under the stress. Although the author never quite brings Surratt to life, Larson settles all doubt as to the justness of the verdict against this most unlikely criminal. An unusual look at the conspiracy to kill Lincoln from the perspective of the only woman plotter. Agent: Doe Coover/Doe Coover Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423363729
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
06/03/2008
Edition description:
Unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hours
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Kate Clifford Larson holds a doctorate from the University of New Hampshire and currently teaches history at Simmons College. She is the author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero. She lives in Winchester, Massachusetts.

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