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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 (970 )
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4.4 (310 )
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Performance
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  •  
    DMHVetSurveyor Western Wisconsin 04-23-06
    DMHVetSurveyor Western Wisconsin 04-23-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    534
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    224
    93
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    33
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    Overall
    "Good Story, good reader"

    It was a good story, well researched. Not a lot of new material if you are already quite knowledgeable on the subject. John Boy Walton does a good job as narrator as well. I would give it a 3 1/2 if I could, but it's closer to a 4 than a 3. I do recommend it and would put it in the top 50% out of 70+ listens. I was just looking for something new and it didn't happen or I would have rated it higher.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Ewing, NJ, USA 04-11-06
    Julia Ewing, NJ, USA 04-11-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    3
    Overall
    "Fascinating story"

    This was a fascinating story, one I'd never truly heard. James Swanson did a fantastic job in researching which allowed this non-fiction book to feel like a novel. Lots of color and touches that hooked me early on.

    The reading was pretty good. Wish they had an unabridged version, however.

    Overall: Loved the story, could have kept going. Worth a try.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Speroni Orchard Park, New York 04-06-06
    N. Speroni Orchard Park, New York 04-06-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
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    182
    16
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    0
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    Overall
    "Many surprises"

    I enjoyed listening to this book...until the end. The choice to narrate of the death of JWB in a somewhat glorified and worshipful tone surprised me. This was a man who carefully planned, shot and killed the President. Possibly the narrator's [Richard Thomas] intention was to mesmerize the listener. Instead, his narration came across as if it were a tribute to JWB. It made me wonder...will there also be a suspensful story written about Lee Harvey Oswald that glorifies his death as well. Otherwise, the book is quite interesting and suspensful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 04-05-06
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 04-05-06 Member Since 2005

    Paul Norwood

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a surprise!!!"

    I took a little risk on this book and I am glad I did. The name James Wilkes Booth was about as interesting to me as a used toothbrush. What a depressing name, James Wilkes Booth. But I am very interested in history and one of the reviews such as this peaked my interest. I couldn't stop the ipod. This is a riveting chronology of the time and the chase. Attitudes, habits, and philosophies were discussed. The chase is a pageturner and I was intrigued by the man himself. There was a lot of fascinating parts of the conspiracy that I did not know about. If you like to learn about history with a gripping pageturner, this is the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Me Wisconsin 03-24-06
    Me Wisconsin 03-24-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    521
    5
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    0
    1
    Overall
    "Extremely Good Book"

    I can't say enough good things about this book. It was fast-paced, factual, suspenseful, and well-written. The author did a great job!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred greensboro nc 06-29-09
    fred greensboro nc 06-29-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    80
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    "Not bad but did not click for me"

    I should probably listen to this one again some day. The story moves but did not click for me. Maybe better suited for history buffs who know the setting better than I.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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