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

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

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Overview

My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy by Nora Titone, John Bedford Lloyd

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781449840969
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 10/25/2010

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.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is the author of the runaway bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She won the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II and is also the author of the bestsellers Wait Till Next Year, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her husband, Richard N. Goodwin.

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My Thoughts Be Bloody 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
historybuffJC1 More than 1 year ago
This was a fabulous book that reads like fiction. Ms Titone does an excellent job of giving the reader a feel for the period. You quickly come to understand the tensions between the Booth brothers in this well researched book.Their lives are played out against the richly described backdrops of Shakespeare's plays, the Booth family's interactions with famous people of the era, as well as the major historical events taking place. There are some interesting twists and coincidences that occur in the lives of these men that make this book very easy to read quickly. I can't wait for Ms. Titone's next book!
RPG More than 1 year ago
Ms Titone should return a/s/a/p to research and scribe another insightful and truly informative book. "Bloody" is superb in all aspects of a history of the Booth family as well as info on the Ford Theatre and the death of Lincoln. Her writing flows throughout the entire history and leaves one with the attitude that research and utilization of notes were in abundance. Keep writing and let Ms Goodwin write all of the prefaces.
klcv More than 1 year ago
Learned lots I didn't know - about the Booth family and social mores of the time. The book spends more time on the father and older brother than on John Wilkes. They were quite the celebrities in their day. Very interesting history, well written and easy to read. I enjoyed it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm glad this book did not focus on the Lincoln assasination. That subject has been done. I like learning the facts of John Wilkes Booth's roots. Afterall, you learn more about people when you study their families and where they come from. Loved this!
Chowbell More than 1 year ago
Knowing the background of John Wilkes Booth and his family along with the way things were then really helps flesh out what happened in Ford's Theater and afterwords. I loved this book. Not only did I learn a great deal, I also enjoyed learning it.
h2olvr More than 1 year ago
Interesting facts that reads like a novel. Holds one interest from page one to the end.
SirByron66 More than 1 year ago
This book helps fill in the "holes of perspectives" on the times of John Wilkes Booth growing up, and gives perspective to the local "feel" of the era. It broadens your perspective and view of the period, and helps in gaining more knowledge of JW, his family, and our history. If you enjoy gaining historical content to specific past events - you will enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very throughly researched and fascinating book, I highly recommend this book you wont be able to put it down!
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