Chasing Lincoln's Killer
"This story is true. All the characters are real and were alive during the great manhunt of April 1865. Their words are authentic and come from original sources: letters, manuscripts, trial transcripts, newspapers, government reports, pamphlets, books and other documents. What happened in Washington, D.C., that spring, and in the swamps and rivers, forests and fields of Maryland and Virginia during the next twelve days, is far too incredible to have been made up."
So begins this fast-paced thriller that tells the story of the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth and gives a day-by-day account of the wild chase to find this killer and his accomplices. Based on James Swanson's bestselling adult book MANHUNT: THE 12-DAY CHASE FOR LINCOLN'S KILLER, this young people's version is an accessible look at the assassination of a president, and shows readers Abraham Lincoln the man, the father, the husband, the friend, and how his death impacted those closest to him.
I want to be able to recommend some nonfiction titles from our school's list and the only one I have read is the fantastic CHEW ON THIS. When I found CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER in our staff room, I figured I would give it a try.
Author James Swanson has been obsessed with Lincoln since childhood. His diligence and attention to detail paid off in a highly detailed and engaging book. Swanson has a gift for taking historical documents and recreating a story which appeals to young readers. The events unfold over twelve days and Swanson keeps up a fast pace. It helps that he is able to include some gruesome descriptions that middle school students love. I found myself cringing when I read, "The doctors probed Lincoln's bullet wound with their bare, dirty fingers, sticking their pinkies inside Lincoln's brain." This is the kind of history that fascinates my sixth graders.
While everyone is familiar with Lincoln's assassination by John Wilkes Booth, there is so much more to learn. CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER is the perfect blend of information and narrative retelling; I will be handing it to many students for the summer.
I learned a lot about all the players in Lincoln's death.
The photographs add to the story.
The incident. John Wilkes Booth is a famous actor and loved by all women. He is supporting the confederacy however. As the south surrender to the north and General Grant, Booth is furious. As the White House has parades and celebrations, Booth is just disgusted and can’t bare to watch. He plans to kill President Lincoln! On the night of April 14,1865, Lincoln would be killed. He snuck into the President’s box and shot the president with a derringer pistol and fled Ford’s Theatre immediately.
Describing all the characters. The author does a wonderful job of telling about John Wilkes Booth and all the characters. John Wilkes Booth was a pretty popular actor back in the day. He was handsome and starred in multiple plays. Abraham Lincoln is of course The President of the United States. He has just gotten the south to surrender, ending the Civil War. Booth had quite a few people helping him with his plan. No one would’ve suspected the popular actor to kill the president.