Saturday, April 12, 2008

Book Review #9 Which is Lincoln Assassination book is better?

As we approach the anniversary of Lincoln's murder I thought it would be nice to look at the top books depicting the murder of our 16th President.

In 2001 Edward Steers Jr. published Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and I have recently read the book and found it to be one of the best Civil War books that I have ever read. A few years back I read American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies by Michael W. Kauffman. When I brought Steers' book home from the local library my fiancee was shocked that I was reading another Lincoln Assassination book. Now that I've read both books I would like to compare the two and hopefully provide my readers with a good glimpse into both texts.

American Brutus provides readers with every single possible detail which is explained fully by Michael Kauffman. Blood on the Moon[provides the key facts and enough basic details for anybody wanting to learn more about the Lincoln assassination. Here are some basic facts for each book

# of pages: Kauffman's book is 398 pages long. Steers' book is 293 pages long.

Both men have studied the Lincoln assassination for most of their lives and are seen as the leading experts in this aspect of Civil War history.

Kauffman's book was published in 2004 and its end notes have more details than Steers' notes.

Steers' book has twelve pages of photos. Kauffman's book has eight pages of photos.

Besides the amount of details provided the major difference between the two books is background information about John Wilkes Booth. Kauffman's book focuses on the life of Booth leading up to and during his murder of Lincoln. Meanwhile, Steers focuses on Lincoln but this is not as detailed as Kauffman's review of Booth's life.

Both books do a great job by ensuring readers that John Wilkes Booth was not a failed actor trying to make a name for himself but he was one of the best known celebrities in America and was one of the most handsomest men in America.

Kauffman's book discuss the role of Dr. Mudd in the Lincoln assasination in detail but Steers' has done more research on Mudd and his book does a better job painting Mudd as a man who historian James Hall called "not an innocent country physician as depicted in current Mudd family propaganda."

Personally if you are a person just interested in the Lincoln assassination I would read Blood on the Moon and save American Brutus for later. Everything you need to know is in Steers book. I own a copy of Kauffman's book and will add Steers' book as soon as I have more money to purchase books. Both are excellent sources and if you want to know which book is better my only answer is "Both" Yes, both books are highly recommended.


Pelt Family said...

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer is the best book I have read on the subject. It more focuses on everything that happened after the shot until the capture. I think it is also a feature film in production

Mike said...

I agree. I like Manhunt too but American Brutus and Blood on the Moon are the top resources on this topic.