Bloody Crimes: Book summary and reviews of Bloody Crimes by James L. Swanson

Bloody Crimes

The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse

By James L. Swanson

Bloody Crimes
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2010,
    480 pages.

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Book Summary

On the morning of April 2, 1865, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, received a telegram from General Robert E. Lee. There is no more time—the Yankees are coming, it warned. Shortly before midnight, Davis boarded a train from Richmond and fled the capital, setting off an intense and thrilling chase in which Union cavalry hunted the Confederate president.

Two weeks later, President Lincoln was assassinated, and the nation was convinced that Davis was involved in the conspiracy that led to the crime. Lincoln's murder, autopsy, and White House funeral transfixed the nation. His final journey began when soldiers placed his corpse aboard a special train that would carry him home on the 1,600-mile trip to Springfield. Along the way, more than a million Americans looked upon their martyr's face, and several million watched the funeral train roll by. It was the largest and most magnificent funeral pageant in American history.

To the Union, Davis was no longer merely a traitor. He became a murderer, a wanted man with a $100,000 bounty on his head. Davis was hunted down and placed in captivity, the beginning of an intense and dramatic odyssey that would transform him into a martyr of the South's Lost Cause.

The saga that began with Manhunt continues with the suspenseful and electrifying Bloody Crimes. James Swanson masterfully weaves together the stories of two fallen leaders as they made their last expeditions through the bloody landscape of a wounded nation.

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Media Reviews

"The disparate fates of contending presidents make an odd juxtaposition in this ungainly history of the Civil War's last gasps." - Publishers Weekly

"Less dramatic than the author's previous work, but full of vigorous prose and dynamic stories about the period immediately following the end of the Civil War." - Kirkus

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Author Information

James L. Swanson Author Biography

© Jerry Bauer

James L. Swanson is the Edgar Award–winning author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. Swanson has degrees in history from The University of Chicago and law from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has held a number of government and think-tank posts in Washington, D.C., including at the United States Department of Justice. He serves on the advisory council of the Ford’s Theatre Society.

His other books include the acclaimed photographic history Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution, as well as Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, and adaptations of Manhunt and Bloody Crimes for young readers. James L. Swanson was born on Lincoln’s birthday.

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