Thursday, June 12, 2008

Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth...again

Recently I cam across John Wilkes Booth: Fact and Fiction of Lincoln's Assassination & The Hidden Lincoln: From the Letters and Papers of William H. Herndon. The Booth book is extremly rare and I am really looking forward to reading it. It was published in 1929 and is still the definitive biography of JW Booth. Author Francis Wilson even addresses the idea that Booth escaped from the barn and lived out a life under a few assumed names. The biggest disappointment is that Wilson provides no footnotes, endnotes or citations for this work. Back in the day historical authors were not required to do this but with the limited amount of Booth information available to him, it will be easy to track down his sources. I am sure that Asia Clarke Booth's biography of her brother was a key source.

The William Herndon book is cited in nearly every biography that has ever been written about Abraham Lincoln. Herndon was a close friend who despises Mary Lincoln and did a great job of painting Lincoln as the greatest president that our country has ever seen. I don't disagree with him on this but the book itself really provides a lot of insight about Lincoln's character and virtues. It is made up of letters that Herndon wrote to people about Lincoln from 1865-the late 1890's. One of the more intesting things that I have found in the book was the poem that Lincoln wrote about his childhood. It is interesting to note that it was in the possession of Robert Lincoln and his wife for several years and was not revealed to the general public until long after Booth's bullet rang out in Fords Theatre.

I cannot wait to dive into these books this summer!

More posts are on the way. I am sorry that I have been so distracted lately.

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