Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review: The Assassination

Clark, Champ. The Assassination: Death of the President. The Civil War. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, Inc., 1987.

My lack of knowledge of late Civil War continues to astound me. I didn't remember that anyone was targeted other than Lincoln, nor that there was more than one conspirator. I guess my image of an assassination is the JFK style lone-gunman.

That truly that was a different era. I'm so used to the activities of the President being shrouded in secrecy and security. (My closest glimpse of a president, the elder Bush, was from several hundred yards away. For all I could tell, they had Cookie Monster on the stage.) They published that Lincoln was going to attend Ford's theater in the newspaper, for Pete's sake. He had a single bodyguard with him, who, by various accounts, either found a seat to watch the play himself, or went next door to the saloon for a drink. It's astounding how little attention they paid to security in the middle of a war with tens of thousands of dead.

On pages 80-1, they have an image of what Lincoln was carrying in his pockets when he was assassinated. The one thing that really endeared him to me was the pair of glasses that he had repaired with thread. That's something my parents would do.

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