Chasing Lincoln's Killer
By: James L. Swanson

About the author

James L. Swanson is an American author and historian famous for his New York Times best-seller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer, which earned him an Edgar Award.

Main Characters:

Abraham Lincoln: 16th president of the United States.

Mary Todd Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln's wife.

John Wilkes Booth: Booth was the one who killed Abraham Lincoln.

David Herold: Assisted Booth when leaving Washington.

Lewis Powell: Tried to assassinate the Secretary of State.

William H. Seward: Secretary of State.

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd: A friends and doctor of Booth.

Edwin M. Stanton: Friend of Abraham Lincoln and secretary of war.

Dr. Leale: Lincoln's doctor that tried to save him at Ford's theater.

Laura Keene: An actress that was at Ford's theater when Lincoln was shot and killed.

Major Rathbone: Lincoln's friend that went to the theater with him.

John Surratt: thought to be the assassin of Seward.


This took place in Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C


Booth was successful at the murder but it was hard to escape the city. Also, they knew that Booth had murdered Lincoln, so they sent out a telegram to all states warning them to help catch him.

Story Details:

John Wilkes Booth wanted to get revenge on the Union (Lincoln, and other Union supporters). He had another plan to kidnap the president for ransom, which failed. He received a letter saying that Lincoln would be at the theater that night, and had 8 hours to put a new plan to action.


There were 4 main moods in this story.

1. Happiness : The supporters of the Union were happy because of their latest victory in the Civil war.

2. Sadness : Most people were sad when they heard about the death of Abraham Lincoln.

3. Anger : Lincoln's death angered a lot of people as well

4. Determination : Stanton and other American's were determined to find the assassins of Lincoln.


The main theme was revenge. John Wilkes Booth wanted revenge on Lincoln for the outcome of the Civil war and for passing the Emancipation Proclamation.

Why do I like it? What do I remember most about it?

I like it because it explains in vivid detail the exact event that happened before and after the death of Lincoln. I remember most the part when Booth was in the presidents box in the theater because if someone would have heard him enter, Lincoln may have lived and made even better changes to America.

Interesting Quotation:

"She won't think anything about it" (Chasing Lincoln's Killer, pg 36)

This quote was interesting because it was his last spoken words when he was alive.

Who would I recommend this book to?

This book would be great for people who like to investigate different things and who enjoy learning about the death of someone, and the events before and after.

Why you should read the book:

You should read this book because it talks about the event leading up to, after, and during the murder. It is so descriptive that you can picture it in your mind.


1. I watch a show called "Forensic Files" where they track down the murderer in different situations. This related to the book because they tried to track down John Wilkes Booth, Lewis Powell, and David Herold.

2. I also watch a show called "The First 48" where they investigate the crime and try to track down the killer within the first 48 hours.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

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