In Bloody Crimes, James L. Swanson—the Edgar® Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Manhunt—brings to life two epic events of the Civil War era: the thrilling chase to apprehend Confederate president Jefferson Davis in the wake of the Lincoln assassination and the momentous 20 -day funeral that took Abraham Lincoln’s body home to Springfield. A true tale full of fascinating twists and turns, and lavishly illustrated with dozens of rare historical images—some never before seen—Bloody Crimes is a fascinating companion to Swanson’s Manhunt and a riveting true-crime thriller that will electrify civil war buffs, general readers, and everyone in between.
The disparate fates of contending presidents make an odd juxtaposition in this ungainly history of the Civil War's last gasps. Swanson recounts the April 1865 odyssey of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train as it wound through the North, intercutting it with Jefferson Davis's flight south from Richmond through a disintegrating Confederacy. The intertwined narratives lack the drama of the John Wilkes Booth saga Swanson told in his bestselling Manhunt. Lincoln's progress is a vividly described but lugubrious study in Victorian pomp, with giant hearses, trackside bonfires, choruses of white-robed young women, and huge crowds filing past the slow-moldering corpse. Davis's journey is a deluded, lackadaisical picaresque as he tries and fails to rally demoralized Southerners his own cavalry escort pillaged the accompanying treasury wagons until his anticlimactic capture by Union forces. Swanson works hard to make Davis a noble (no, he was not captured wearing his wife's dress, just her shawl) worthy of the Dixie-wide memorial procession with which the book closes. But Davis's story is incomparably less resonant than the martyred Lincoln's; in Swanson's best sections, outpourings of grief Lincoln's own and those of his mourners make for a moving evocation of wartime loss. B&w photos.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I ordered this iBook because I had so thoroughly enjoyed reading James Swanson's earlier book on the search for President Lincoln's killer, "Manhunt".
In Manhunt Swanson makes heavy use of dialog (taken from courtroom testimony and contemporary newspaper accounts of those who assisted Booth in his efforts to evade capture. The reconstruction of eye-witness conversations draws the reader into the story as if it were happening today.
Bloody Crimes is a much more conventional narrative of the assassination of the President of the United States and the national obsession to honor him in death. In the telling that story is contrasted with the simultaneous events surrounding the flight and eventual capture of the President of the Confederate States of America in the closing days of the Civil War.
The books are quite different in this respect. Manhunt reads like an exciting detective novel, and a real page turner. Bloody Crimes reads like a factual presentation of two sad but defining moments in American history. As such, Bloody Crimes may hold appeal mostly among those with keen interest in Lincoln or Civil War history.
Excellent account of the events surrounding the end of the Civil War. The book makes one want to visit all the places where these occurred.
Just finished it this morning. GREAT BOOK!!!!! A MUST READ for anyone who loves America and Her history. Gripping. I could actually "See" the whole "Pageant of Lincoln's Corpse" as it move from state to state; I could "feel" the Jefferson Davis' chase , capture and return to the South to live out the rest of his life. "With malice toward none, with charity for all".....