Cheryl K. (East Aurora, NY)
The Hour of Peril
Admittedly, when beginning The Hour of Peril, I had just completed the Assassination of Lincoln, as well as seeing Lincoln (the movie). Anxious to learn of the thwarted attempt on Lincoln's life in 1861, I slowly made my way through this book. Although I can appreciate the extensive research by Daniel Stashower, I often felt I was reading a textbook. Pinkerton was definitely more of a presence than Lincoln, and his story was very interesting. I feel this book would appeal more to avid history buffs, who enjoy explicit details of a period in American history that is not well-known. I did not find it a "race-against-the-clock thriller.
Vy A. (Phoenix, AZ)
Hour of Peril
Anyone interested in American history, as well as President Lincoln scholars, will appreciate this very detailed account of "the first time they tried to kill Lincoln". Peril tells of Lincoln's thirteen- day voyage from Springfield, Illinois to Washington in the spring of 1861 and explores Alan Pinkerton's belief that there was a conspiracy to kill. I found it to be more of an account of Pinkerton's role in history (founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency) perhaps than Lincoln, but still very fascinating. The controversy between Pinkerton and Ward Lamon (Lincoln's friend and self-appointed bodyguard) who did not believe there was such a plot, is also quite elaborate. Although we know that Lincoln arrived safely to Washington, the author manages to build tension and suspense, as well as paint vivid scenes of life in that time period. A good read.
Erin J. (Milwaukie, OR)
History comes to life
There is no mystery how this book will end: Lincoln survives his journey and is inaugurated as President of the United States. And yet somehow Daniel Stashower has turned historical fact into a nail-biting thriller. I was expecting essentially a biography of Lincoln's time leading up to his presidency, but the whole first third or so of the book is really a biography of Allen Pinkerton, the man who created the profession of private investigators. It's fascinating! I cannot wait to give this book to my history buff father-in-law. And maybe buy copies for my husband and my dad while I'm at it. And my mom, and....
Susan C. (Maple Grove, MN)
The Hour of Peril
Slow at times, but full of interesting information about the participants - Pinkerton, Lincoln, the first female private detective and other prominent people of the time. Gives an idea of the mood of the country - how some citizens of the US felt about Lincoln, possible war, slavery.
A book more suited for those interested in history than for thriller fans.
Kathleen W. (New Brighton,, MN)
And you thought 2012 WAS THE Election Year!
Disguises,female spies, assassination ballots,fake identities... SUBTERFUGE! On the heels of Obama vs. Romney comes THE HOUR OF PERIL by Daniel Stashower.Coming off a 2012 election that was at points ridiculous and riveting, THE HOUR OF PERIL knocks this telling of the conspiracy to kill Abraham Lincoln pre-inauguration, right out of the park. With quotes from the newspapers of the day, this historical saga, ostensibly about Lincoln, is actually more a panorama of US history, circa 1861. Peopled by John Brown, Frederick Douglas, John Hay, Abe Lincoln and most markedly, Allan Pinkerton, this is political REALITY at its most horrifying. This is the REAL DEAL. If you like American history and have always wondered about the early "Secret Service", you'll be sorry if you miss this one!
Eloise F. (Poway, CA)
Not quite spellbinding
This is a great history book. I love reading about this era and it didn't disappoint as a discussion from a new angle and new participants in history. But: it was billed as 'spellbinding historical narrative.' It was instead a history, slow and cumbersome to read. Not what I expected to review but always a good thing to expand my horizons.
Les G. (Fort Collins, CO)
History that reads like a novel
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower is one of the finest historical true crime books I've ever read. Since everyone knows that Lincoln in fact made it to his inauguration alive, Stashower faced a difficult job in building suspense throughout the book. Stashower has risen to this challenge and produced a book that builds in suspense as Alan Pinkerton races to uncover and neutralize a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln as his inauguration train passes through Baltimore.
The Hour of Peril describes not only Pinkerton's race against time, but does an excellent job of describing the environment of the United States on the very brink of civil war. This is an outstanding book which anyone with any interest in Lincoln and the civil war will enjoy.