In Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, I think James Swanson has done great work in making John Wilkes Booth a sympathetic protagonist who is also the villain. Lincoln’s assassin deserved his fate, but in getting there, Swanson crafts a story that is taut and compelling.
With detail and pacing, we’re along the journey, galloping through Washington, laying low in Maryland and enjoying southern hospitality in Virginia. There were moments I had hoped against history that Booth would elude his pursuers just a little longer.
Swanson also weaves in the stories of Booth’s accomplices, supporters and adversaries, complete with interspersed photographs.