The Lincoln Assassination, And Beyond.

Our Literary Outdoors…
literature of the Sportsman’s Guide lifestyle.

April 14th marks the anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It was the first assassination of an American president (sadly, the first of four) and to this day is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories in American history. John Wilkes Booth and a group of conspirators attempted to not only kill the president but also several members of the cabinet in an attempt to throw the American government into chaos. The murder happened just days after Robert E. Lee’s Confederacy surrender to signal the end of the Civil War. And Booth and his Confederate-sympathizing band of conspirators had enough. It was a central piece in a tumultuous month: April 1865.

My favorite book on the assassination and this crucial moment in American history is April 1865: The Month That Saved America by Jay Winik. From the publisher:

One month in 1865 witnessed the frenzied fall of Richmond, a daring last-ditch Southern plan for guerrilla warfare, Lee’s harrowing retreat, and then, Appomattox. It saw Lincoln’s assassination just five days later and a near-successful plot to decapitate the Union government, followed by chaos and coup fears in the North, collapsed negotiations and continued bloodshed in the South, and finally, the start of national reconciliation.

The details in the book—the geography of our nation’s capital, the wounds sustained by Secretary of State William H. Seward, the quotes from citizens and participants in the events—create a narrative that is informative, harrowing, and captivating. And while the book is about the month, with a focus on the assassination plot, the book looks beyond; it opens with Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and certainly illuminates upon the Civil War. It is a book that scholars of American history can enjoy as much as a high school student. And in a time when our nation’s current divisions are more visible in a digital age, it’s an important look at what was overcome in order for us to be unified again after years of bloodshed.

Also, check this link to the History Channel’s article on the Lincoln assassination. It has a brief overview along with more in-depth links and short videos, including some with the author.

Please leave any comments below about the book. NOTE: blog originally posted April 14th, 2017.

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One Response to “The Lincoln Assassination, And Beyond.”

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    Walter Dinkins OWAA Outdoor Writer

    The assassination attempt on Andrew Jackson as he returned from a funeral was the first actual attempted assassination of a President. Something that historically adept President Abraham Lincoln was aware of and perhaps the source of his great depression following the death of his son.

    In Andrew Jackson’s case ,it was a cold wet, rainy day in Washington City. It was January 30th, 1835 a mad, unemployed house painter- Richard Lawrence caught up the the President as he left a congressional funeral held in the House Chamber of the Capitol Building, and shot at old Hickory! Lawrence pulled one pistol out of his pocket, and shot at Jackson’s face at point blank…snap…a miss-fire! While people looked on, and some ran away… the spry and wirily 65 year old President grabbed his walking stick and charged his assailant!

    Lawrence pulled a second pistol from another pocket…and pointed it at the charging President…snap…a second misfire! Can you imagine it?

    It was the first such murder attempt of a US President. A murder attempt, at the very steps of the US Capital Building. People have forgotten this History mystery…but not I.
    I think you readers shall remember it too from this point and time onward. Old Hickory was as tough as any future or past President. We shall not see the likes of a President such as him again. Do not forget only two US Presidential administrations have managed to Balance the US Budget and have money available. President Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton.