My Thoughts Be Bloody My Thoughts Be Bloody

My Thoughts Be Bloody

The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy

    • 4.6 • 24 Ratings
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Publisher Description

Historian Nora Titone takes a fresh look at the strange and startling history of the Booth brothers, answering the question of why one became the nineteenth-century’s brightest, most beloved star, and the other became the most notorious assassin in American history.

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. 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.

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.

October 19
Free Press
Simon & Schuster Digital Sales LLC

Customer Reviews

Deanpwright ,

A fascinating read

This is a well-researched, entertainingly written story of the Booth family and the far-reaching impact their dynamics had on American history.

It's full of interesting characters from the worlds of 19th century politics and the acting world.

Jekkbnddm ,

A good exploration of the Wilkes family saga

A well written book that ends with the assassination of Lincoln. I wish the author could have ended the book with some speculation about John Wilkes behavior the hours up to the murder and attempt to escape

Youshakeitbaby ,


One of the most intriguing books I've read in a while. Obviously arduously researched, history becomes an epic tale.

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