Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

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Overview

Winner of the 2001 The Lincoln Group of New York's Award of Achievement A History Book Club Selection The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is usually told as a tale of a lone deranged actor who struck from a twisted lust for revenge. This is not only too simple an explanation; Blood on the Moon reveals that it is completely wrong. John Wilkes Booth was neither mad nor alone in his act of murder. He received the help of many, not the least of whom was Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, the Charles County physician who has been portrayed as the innocent victim of a vengeful government. Booth was also aided by the Confederate leadership in Richmond. As he made his plans to strike at Lincoln, Booth was in contact with key members of the Confederate underground, and after the assassination these same forces used all of their resources to attempt his escape. Noted Lincoln authority Edward Steers Jr. introduces the cast of characters in this ill-fated drama, he explores why they were so willing to help pull the trigger, and corrects the many misconceptions surrounding this defining moment that changed American history. After completing an acclaimed career as a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health, Edward Steers Jr. has turned his research skills to the Lincoln assassination. He is the author of several books about the president, including The Trial. He lives in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Hurrah! Old Abe Lincoln has been assassinated!" wrote a South Carolina girl in her diary in 1865, giving palpable voice to the intense anti-Lincoln sentiments of the slaveholders and the South in general. This well-argued, often exciting account of an organized Confederate plot behind John Wilkes Booth's murder of the president both finely synthesizes traditional Lincoln assassination scholarship and proposes new proof and twists on already acknowledged possibilities. Steers, an avocational historian who has written several other books on Lincoln and the assassination, has a sharp ear for historical discordance and a novelist's eye for illuminating detail. Carefully filling in background (from Booth's relationship to theater and politics to the fascinating, complicated trial of co-conspirator Mary Surratt) for the nonspecialized reader, Steers gracefully disentangles a clutter of characters, historical details and hypotheses to prove his own conspiracy theory. Much of this material will be new to the common reader a Confederate plot to use yellow fever as a form of biological warfare against the North; the flight to the Vatican of Mary Surratt's son in an effort to escape prosecution after the assassination but Steers never loses his firm grip on his exciting primary narrative. Although he inclines toward purple prose in his more dramatic moments ("The deed was done. The tyrant was killed. Abraham Lincoln could burn in hell. Sic semper tyrannis!"), his theory is forthrightly and convincingly presented. Less a book for professional historians than U.S. history buffs and Lincoln diehards, this engaging expos? makes for provocative reading. 50 b&w illus. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 CahnersBusiness Information.
From the Publisher
"In his readable, exceedingly well-researched account of the assassination, Edward Steers shreds the myths that have encrusted the story of Booth's plot and that reveal more about what some Americans want to believe that what actually happened." — Maryland Historical Magazine

"What separates Blood on the Moon... is the depth and breadth of Steers' research." — Morgantown Messenger

"Steers has written a careful synthesis of what is known about Lincoln's murder." — New York Review of Books

"A carefully documented account of the conspiracy and those who took part in it." — The Lancet

"May become the definitive volume detailing the events surrounding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln." — Union County (KY) Advocate

"This is the book to which all Lincoln and Civil War aficionados — indeed, all Americans interested in their history — should turn for a lucid and up-to-date explanation of the assassination." — William Hanchett

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813191515
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 489,273
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    very good book and informative...

    have not finished the book as yet but almost there, but from what i have read to date, it is very interesting. some things my be the same, but there are some new relevations to President Lincoln's death that i found out too.

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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    Historical thriller can't be beat

    The author does a tremendous job bringing the Lincoln assassination and conspiracy to light. Myths are exposed and truth revealed for serious students of history. Edward Steers takes you on a journey to the time and place of one of the darkest and sinister plots in American history.

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  • Posted May 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Don't Judge by Cover Rule

    Another example of not judging a book by it's cover. Was in B&N, was in a hurry and have always been intrigued by the Lincoln Assassination and that time period. In looking at this book I was sold on the statement "If your only going to read one book on the Lincoln assassination, this is it". Obviously it is my own fault for a lack of critical thought and deducing that whether a book is great or terrible any author could throw a positive statement.

    Research - The only positive that I walked away from reading this with. It was very clear that the author had a personal interest in the topic and that he had examined it a great deal. Possibly even to the extent that he could be referred to as a "leading expert".

    Flow - Another marketing tactic was to claim that this book read like a story. However, while it was told in chronological form for the most part, it read as a very, very boring story. That is quite a feat considering this is one of the more interesting topics of our time. You begin the book giving the benefit of the doubt: That most non-fiction does take some time to set up the book and that it eventually gets past that and becomes interesting. It just never really did for me.

    Redefining How You View Topic - This book did little to change my very basic view/understanding of the Lincoln killing. However, towards the end in a part dedicated to describing the Lincoln funeral procession it did achieve this criteria.

    Overall - This book failed to meet its claims and the expectations those claims provoke. I tend to read a book this size in about 2 weeks (except for vacation, lol)it took me almost two months to finish this. Informative? Sometimes. Boring? Definitely. Worth the time? There has to be much better associated with this topic.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2006

    Another bogus conspiracy book

    Edward Steers and his alleged conspiracy evidence is so threadbare that even conspiracy adicts will have a hard time swallowing his logic, which basically argues that the Dahlgren raid by Union cavalry more than a year earlier (which presumably was an attempt by the union to assassinate Jeff Davis) motivated the Confederate Secret Service to plot Lincoln's assassination. The idea that it would take that long to seek revenge (much less the idea that the Confederate leaders needed an event like the Dahlgren raid to wish Lincoln dead, after his armies had slaughtered a goodly portion of the Southern youth ), and that it would be carried out after the issue was decided, shows Steer's theory to be somewhat lacking in plausibility, to say the least, especially in light of a complete lack of viable evidence. American Brutus, by Kauffman is a far more comprehensive look at Booth's actions and a far more balanced and dispassionate look at the evidence, all of which shows that the Confederacy did not participate in the assassination, although it's certain (and justifiable) that many of that nation would have been happy to do so.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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