"They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theater, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance

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Anthony Pitch's thrilling account of the Lincoln conspiracy and its aftermath transcends the mere facts of that awful night during which dashing actor John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln in the head and would-be assassin Lewis Payne butchered Secretary of State William Seward in the bed of his own home. "They Have Killed Papa Dead!" transports the reader to one of the most breathtaking moments in history, revealing much that is new about the stories, passions, and times of ...

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Overview

Anthony Pitch's thrilling account of the Lincoln conspiracy and its aftermath transcends the mere facts of that awful night during which dashing actor John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln in the head and would-be assassin Lewis Payne butchered Secretary of State William Seward in the bed of his own home. "They Have Killed Papa Dead!" transports the reader to one of the most breathtaking moments in history, revealing much that is new about the stories, passions, and times of those who shaped this great tragedy.

Virtually every word of Anthony Pitch's account is based on primary source material: new quotes from previously unpublished diaries, letters, and journals - authentic contemporary voices writing with freshness and clarity as eyewitnesses or intimate participants - new images, a new vision and understanding of one of America's defining moments. With an unwavering fidelity to historical accuracy, Pitch masterfully synthesizes the findings of his prodigious research into a tight, gripping narrative that adds important new insights to our national story.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael F. Bishop
Pitch flourishes his discoveries with evident pride, and though they do not alter the outline of a now-familiar story, "They Have Killed Papa Dead!" is a worthy contribution to the vast literature on Lincoln. All who write about the life and death of the 16th president face the challenge of originality, and Pitch by necessity covers old ground, but like any good tour guide he excitedly points out sights along the way. His prose is almost tactile in its evocation of place
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Small details often clog a narrative, but here they fill out the tale of one of the most consequential events of American history-the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. While Pitch (The Burning of Washington) relies somewhat too heavily on hearsay reports of conversations that no one can fully credit, he has mined every resource, read every book, and turned up some documents that had escaped others. More important, he's found new evidence that Lincoln was under genuine threat as early as the eve of his first inauguration, not just after his second one. The result is a fast-moving telling of the multiple plots on Lincoln's life, the implementation of the successful one, its complex aftermath and the way it threw the nation into deep mourning and despair. No reader will come away unmoved, even at this distance, by anguish about the event. The author elicits our feelings for even the plotters in captivity and on the scaffold. A real page-turner about real history. Illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"If not the definitive story of the assassination and the events before and after, then the one that readers should turn to first."— Chicago Sun-Times

"If you're ever in Washington D.C., take a moment to go on a Lincoln assassination walking tour with historian Anthony Pitch. It's not grim, and you'll learn plenty by understanding just how tiny the capital was – and how near the major players were to each other – on the day Lincoln was shot. The next best thing to being there is reading Pitch's 'They Have Killed Papa Dead!': The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance. He writes about the desperate efforts to protect the president, who was always in danger, plus the devastating grief and cruel injustice that came after Lincoln’s death." — Christian Science Monitor
 
"A study of burning focus and intimate depth.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Anthony S. Pitch's "They Have Killed Papa Dead!" is a special book that will surely serve as a benchmark in the vast Lincoln-related lore. . . . Pitch's book is riveting because of exquisitely detailed research, a fast-paced narrative that is evocative in depicting the personalities and places central to understanding Booth's original plan to kidnap the president. . . The reader is kept so close to the details of the events described as to feel more like a close observer than an armchair reader 145 years later. . . . Pitch's masterful and highly readable account is a significant addition to the vast Lincoln record and a fascinating introduction for the lay reader to the complexities of this searing chapter in American history." — H-Net Reviews

"This is an intense, vivid and moving portrayal of a family (and a country) brutally deprived of its leader." — Chicago Tribune

"This is history as it should be written – compelling, gritty and up close & personal. - David Lee Poremba, The Past In Review

"Papa delves into the fevered world of John Wilkes Booth. Possessing the looks of a matinee idol, Lincoln's assassin exerted a Charles Manson-like grip on his co-conspirators. Papa races along through the manhunt, the trials, the executions. A treat for the Lincoln fanatic." — USA Today 

"A meticulously researched narrative of the Lincoln assassination, from the conspiracy and murder through the ensuing manhunt and trial. . . . Pitch turns the tragedy into a great American true-crime story." — Entertainment Weekly

"Pitch's energetic narrative will be highly popular." — Booklist

"No reader will come away unmoved, even at this distance, by anguish about [Lincoln's assassination]. . . . a real page-turner about real history." — Publishers Weekly

“Aches with sadness and pulses with page-turning excitement . . . a perfect storm of a book.” – Harold Holzer, co-chair, U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and winner of a Lincoln Prize 

“So well written and researched that it will add greatly to our knowledge of Lincolniana.” – Dr. Wayne Temple, Deputy Director of the Illinois State Archives and author of many books on Lincoln

“What, another book on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? What more can be said about the regicide of our greatest President? Actually, Anthony Pitch's beautifully written narrative stands on its own as a splendid contribution to the subject. It is told by an author who has an intimate knowledge of all the sites related to the assassination and the trials that followed.”  – Frank J. Williams, Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and founding Chair of The Lincoln Forum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586421588
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press
  • Publication date: 12/30/2008
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface xv

1 "Lincoln Shall Not Pass through Baltimore Alive" I

2 A Presidential Envelope Marked "Assassination" 27

3 "An Excellent Chance to Kill the President!" 42

4 "The Last Speech He Will Ever Make" 74

5 "Like Banquo's Ghost, It Will Not Down" 95

6 "The President Is Shot!" in

7 A Singular Night of Horrors 123

8 "They Have Killed Papa Dead!" 133

9 An Autopsy and Embalming in the White House 160

10 A Visceral Preference for Vengeance 164

11 "I Am Right in the Justness of My Cause" 174

12 Escape in the Dead of Night 184

13 "Betrayed into the Hands of the Government" 191

14 "Keep an Eye on Mrs. Surratt's House" 201

15 "We Know as Much of Your Operations as the Almighty" 215

16 A Funeral Surpassing All Others in Solemnity 224

17 Escape 233

18 "You Must Get Him Across" 249

19 "I Don't Want to Know Anything About You" 264

20 "I Am Worth Just $175,000 to the Man Who Captures Me" 274

21 "Tell My Mother I Die for My Country" 284

22 A Secret Burial at Midnight 294

23 "What My Imagination Pictured the Inquisition to Have Been" 302

24 Weeks of Deprivation and Solitude 318

25 "The Trial Concluded at Last" 337

26 "The Posse Comitatus of the Court Is Not Able to Overcome Armies" 343

27 "I Could Have Jumped upon the Shoulders of Each as They Hung" 361

28 "A Perfect Hell" 367

29 "Why This Flight, and Why This Concealment?" 374

Epilogue: The Scramble for Rewards 397

Acknowledgments 401

Notes 407

Selected Bibliography 469

Index 483

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    With so many books dealing with our 16th President...

    It's hard for beginners to pinpoint a book (or books) to begin their study. I can't think of anyone in American History that has more books written about them (save Washington and that is a maybe). There are books on every aspect of Lincoln's life, from his years on the prairie to his rise and assassination. Where does one begin? Well I can say that I think anyone interested in the assassination of Lincoln need look no further.

    I've read many books on the Lincoln assassination and found this book to be my favorite. Pitch had to know that he was entering a market already over saturated with books on Booth, Lincoln, the escape and aftermath so he really had to make this book stand out. And stand out it does. This book is the most comprehensive look at the assassination and the people involved that I've ever found. It's the little details that really separate this book from dry history and make it come to life. Full of newly unearthed material that Pitch spent 9 years mining, it will stand as the benchmark for future works on the subject.

    There are three really good books on the subject of the assassination. 1st is Blood On the Moon, 2nd is American Brutus, and this book. All three will give you all you need to know about what happened that fateful day in 1865. If you want one to start with, start with this one.

    I just ordered Pitch's book on the burning of Washington by the British from my local Barns & Nobel and I can't wait to see what he's come up with about that day. Not only does he do Lincoln justice, he gives a great history of DC during the Civil War and beyond.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    Eye-opening book

    If you think you know all there is to know about the Linciln assassination, read.this book anyway--it will prove you wrong. The author's 9 years of research are evident in the painstaking account of events before, during and after the crime. Contemporary accounts give the sense of what it was like to be in Washington D.C. in 1865. This is an excellent book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    An insightful look at a

    This book gives you great insight into the tragic assassination of President Lincoln and it's aftermath. The plots, assassination, the escape and chase and finally the trial and executions. It was a book I couldn't put down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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