The Lincoln Murder Plot

The Lincoln Murder Plot

1.5 2
by Karen Zeinert, K. Zeinert

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Zeinert begins with an account of Lincoln's shooting and subsequent death, and then looks at the aftermath in considerable detail, including information about the search for suspects; the manhunt for and death of John Wilkes Booth; and the capture, arrest, hurried military trial, and harsh sentences of the surviving conspirators. She also discusses the federal efforts to link the conspiracy to the Confederate leadership, examines the legal and constitutional weaknesses of the trial and punishment process, and details some of the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination. The author accepts that Booth and his coconspirators were behind the assassination, but is objective in her analysis of the manner in which the trial was conducted and her debunking of the wilder conspiracy theories. Numerous black-and-white period photos appear throughout. This book has a slightly different focus than other titles about the Lincoln assassination. Robert Somerlott's The Lincoln Assassination in American History (Enslow, 1998) concentrates on Lincoln's death and the country's reaction to it. Tom Ito's Abraham Lincoln (Lucent, 1996) and Michael O'Neal's The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (Greenhaven, 1991) both detail and analyze competing conspiracy theories. Zeinert's book will draw both report writers and general readers who enjoy unraveling a historical mystery. A good choice for any library that needs material on this subject.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Horn Book Magazine
Who helped John Wilkes Booth plan the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Was there a grand conspiracy, headed perhaps by a high-ranking government or military official? Karen Zeinert draws on a variety of secondary sources, both scholarly and more popular writings of the twentieth century, to reconstruct the legal judgments rendered soon after Lincoln's death and the questions that remained as to who really was involved. Many players populate her careful recounting of events of the fateful evening of April 14, 1865, and subsequent activities of the War Department in arresting a string of suspected participants. An important thematic question underlies her text. "Was justice served in the aftermath of the assassination?" Clearly, haste was a strong factor in the capture and shooting of Booth, and there was a rush to judgment in the trial and hanging of accused co-conspirators Mary Surratt, Lewis Paine, David Herold, and George Atzerodt. Zeinert's skill in highlighting complex issues tied to Lincoln's murder should prompt many readers to think more deeply about other conspiracy events as well. Several bibliographic features assist readers with the lucid yet demanding account, including a cast of characters, a timeline, photo-graphs with informative captions, and segments of diaries and letters. Two bibliographies-a listing of the author's sources and an annotated assortment of children's books-and an index are appended.
Kirkus Reviews
In a dry but meticulous examination of the events leading up to and following Lincoln's assassination, Zeinert (The Amistad Slave Revolt and American Abolition, 1997, etc.) profiles many of the people involved and refutes 20th-century reinterpretations of evidence that supposedly reveal a Machiavellian conspiracy. In her view the episode was characterized on all sides by bad judgment and too-hasty action; the assassination began as an inept kidnapping plot, hundreds were detained in the ensuing massive investigation, and in the end three men and a woman were hanged on the strength of very questionable testimony. The author goes on to describe a later, abortive attempt to hold Lincoln's body for ransom, refers to several hoaxes, and finishes with a critical analysis of various modern conspiracy theories. The trial records are largely paraphrased rather than quoted; nearly all of the illustrations are contemporary photos, accompanied by side boxes containing background information or passages from letters and diaries. This serviceable study of a pivotal event in US history is heavy reading, but makes an edifying cautionary tale on the perils of the rush to justice. (index, not seen, notes, bibliography, further reading) (Nonfiction. 11-13) .

Product Details

Shoe String Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 8.81(h) x 0.61(d)
Age Range:
11 Years

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