Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
Manhunt: the 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's
by James L. Swanson, Harper Perennial, 2007
Reviewed by Richard J. McGowan
This year, Washington, D.C. has enthusiastically displayed
Lincoln memorabilia in all manner, shape, and form. For instance,
the Library of Congress displayed the original Emancipation
Proclamation, the one shown his cabinet in private. That display is
entirely appropriate for the 200th birthday of the President many
revere as the greatest president ever. Hence, as the year ends, it
is fitting to read ¬Manhunt, which vividly portrays Lincoln's end.
Lincoln's assassination began perhaps the greatest pursuit of a
criminal in history. But how could the assassin, John Wilkes Booth,
have eluded the greatest hunt, with federal soldiers and private
investigators scouring the forests of Virginia and swamps of
Maryland to find him? James L. Swanson, a thoroughly meticulous
researcher and Lincoln buff, provides that account. The story
involves good luck and bad, heroic characters and the worst
scoundrels. Among the little snippets, presented with great detail,
are the actress Laura Keene, using the drama of Lincoln's death as
a steppingstone; the plotters assembling in a boarding house; and
Stanton's remark when Lincoln died. At the heart of the tale,
though, is the vain and villainous John Wilkes Booth. Swanson
explores as he explains the man who shot Lincoln.
The federal troops finally captured Booth and Swanson has very
much done the same: he captured the person of Lincoln's killer.
- Richard McGowan is an instructor of business ethics and
philosophy at Butler University.