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Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer | [James L. Swanson]

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history, the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild 12-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: If only all history lessons were taught by Richard Thomas, who elevates James L. Swanson's impeccably researched account of capturing John Wilkes Booth with this masterful performance. Thomas' pacing and nuanced narration make Manhunt seem more like a gripping thriller than a history tome. —Diana Dapito

Publisher's Summary

The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history, the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild 12-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.

At the very center of this story is John Wilkes Booth, America's notorious villain. A Confederate sympathizer and a member of a celebrated acting family, Booth threw away his fame and wealth for a chance to avenge the South's defeat. For almost two weeks, he confounded the manhunters, slipping away from their every move and denying them the justice they sought.

Based on rare archival materials, obscure trial transcripts, and Lincoln's own blood relics, Manhunt is a fully documented work, but it is also a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you've never read it before.

©2006 James L. Swanson; (P)2006 HarperCollinsPublishers

What the Critics Say

  • Mystery Writers of America 2007 Edgar Award, Best Fact Crime
  • 2006 Quill Award Nominee
  • Audie Award Finalist, Nonfiction, Abridged, 2007

"Pure narrative pleasure, sure to satisfy the casual reader and Civil War aficionado alike." (Publishers Weekly)
"Swanson's synthesis of the sources is bound to be a cover-to-cover reading hit with history lovers." (Booklist)
"Manhunt is vigorous and clear without sacrificing accuracy....Just as Booth did, the book saves its heavy ammunition for a final showdown." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1046 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lowell Manitowoc, WI, USA 02-07-07
    Lowell Manitowoc, WI, USA 02-07-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Manhunt"

    A thriller right from the start. The author brings you back to the 1860's and his descriptive style of writing lets you envision everything as if you were there. A great read. I couldn't put it down. If you are a history buff and like a good mystery, you will enjoy this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Westminster, CA, USA 11-18-06
    Lynn Westminster, CA, USA 11-18-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding"

    This story should be required reading for anyone who has more than a casual interest in history. In fact, even if your interest is only casual it should be read (or listened to).

    The author does an amazing job of researching the events leading up to and following Lincoln's assassination. He describes the details of the entire episode in such detail that it is hard to believe he was not there as an eyewitness.

    This is a book that I will listen to more than once.

    In many books you can get lost in the complexity of spurious details, but not this one. The level of detail and the narration are superb and compelling.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Bell Harrisonburg, VA United States 05-17-06
    R. Bell Harrisonburg, VA United States 05-17-06 Listener Since 2005

    kidagain

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The best book for me so far"

    Manhunt is an excellent book; the best that I have read from audible so far. I was raised and had worked in the Washington DC area and lived Charles County Maryland where all of the action and events took place. I knew the story of Lincoln's assassination and Booth's escape from what I had been taught in school and seen in many TV presentations over the years, but there were many things I had never known that I found interesting to know. I had always believed Booth died in a barn fire; he did not. I had always thought Booth died in Maryland following getting his broken leg set by Dr. Mudd in Charles County; he did not. Relearning about Secretary of War Stanton's taking charge following Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865, makes me recall a similar attempt by Secretary of State Haig to take charge following President Reagan's attempted assassination. I had always believed Dr. Mudd had spent many years sentenced to Devil Island for his participation in the Lincoln assassination; he did not. Richard Thomas gives a marvelously read narration delivered, I felt, in such a masterful way as to be more of an audio performance. He is very good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Nashville, TN, USA 05-01-06
    John Nashville, TN, USA 05-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well worth it"

    I thought this book sounded interesting based on its review but I was pleasently surprised at how good it was. Great narration which made the story come to life, and great research. It was a perfect overview of this part of American history for someone who did not know much about the subject. I could not put it down. Richard Thomas draws you into the story so that you can;t wait to know what happens next. One of the best purchases I have made in a while.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Ames Pittsburgh, PA USA 03-24-06
    Richard Ames Pittsburgh, PA USA 03-24-06 Member Since 2006
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    "Blew Me Away"

    James Swanson’s “Manhunt” reads like a master thriller, and Richard Thomas absolutely nails the narration of this book. The combination of Swanson’s writing and Thomas’s narration is extraordinary. At times it was hard to remember that what I was listening to was, in fact, historical nonfiction of which I already knew the outcome, because it had all the feel and excitement of an excellent fictional work. The detailed description and account of the attack by assassin Lewis Powell on Secretary of State Seward the same night Lincoln was shot, for instance, just blew me away. This book could be adapted into a wonderful screenplay, it’s that good.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Denver, CO United States 04-24-09
    Brandon Denver, CO United States 04-24-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Riveting story, well researched, written and read"

    Never expected that an episode of american history normally summed up in a a paragraph or two could be made into such a fascinating book.

    Brilliantly researched and written...you will feel as if you are there beside Booth & his conspirators (and sometimes even inside their heads)during every step of their plotting and attempted escape.

    I normally don't comment on narration, but this is the first I've heard that really does add to the drama of the story without being over the top.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Ball Nevada, USA 05-31-07
    James Ball Nevada, USA 05-31-07 Member Since 2015
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    "Spellbinding"

    Swanson craftily frames the manhunt for Booth and his co-conspirators as a tale of suspense, relying on witness testimony, trial transcripts and newspaper accounts. He shies away from speculation, and the book is the better for it.

    Although the book focuses on the manhunt, providing thrills and twists at every turn, it's actually a great primer on Booth, giving us a glimpse into the motivation of this complex player in American history.

    The reading is solid and fast-paced, perfectly matching the tone of the written work. You'll want to know more after listening, and that makes this book a smashing success.

    In three years of being an audible subscriber, I've finally found that holy grail book - a pitch-perfect tale that never, ever disappoints and is over way too soon.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Abingdon, MD, USA 03-27-06
    Glenn Abingdon, MD, USA 03-27-06
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    "Good Story, Great Narration"

    What a pleasant read. The story moved along and was quite suspenseful. I thought the story was well researched. Embarrassingly, at times I (almost) wanted Booth to escapae capture. I also really enjoyed the interview with the author at the end and I wish audio book publishers would do more interviews like that. The narrator, Richard Thomas was really wonderful! What a breath of fresh air, especially after my last several reads where the narrators were awful. (Please, someone tell authors NOT to read their own work!) Richard Thomas really read the story with nuance. I hope he decides to do more audio work.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George West Chicago, IL, USA 03-11-06
    George West Chicago, IL, USA 03-11-06
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    "Great Book"

    I would recommend this book. It is fast paced and moves along very well. I found it to be informative and provided a lot of insight into many details I did not know about the Lincoln assination. It is well researched and presented in an interesting format. The reader is easy to listen to and adds to the experience. If you like nonfiction, this book will provide you with background on one of the most important parts of American history.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher COARSEGOLD, CA, United States 03-01-06
    Christopher COARSEGOLD, CA, United States 03-01-06 Member Since 2004
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    "Narrative Brings It to Life"

    I just finished listening to the book and I could not stop listening to it. The narrative was compelling and I walked away feeling as if I had learned a great deal about the assassination and the assassin. I am not a Hsitory of Civil War person, but this piqued my interest. Though many questions were answered, new ones about the time period were raised for me. I definitely want to read more about this time period. Though the narrators voice was a bit quirky, the book was terrific.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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