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The Hour of Peril

The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War

By Daniel Stashower

The Hour of Peril
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2013,
    368 pages.

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There are currently 24 reader reviews for The Hour of Peril
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Joe S. (Port Orange, FL) (12/10/12)

Hour of Peril
A very interesting and well researched book about an important time in our nations history . However, it is a real slow starter. The beginning of the book was, for me, difficult to read because of all the quotes but It soon smooths out and becomes much more interesting. I almost gave up on it but am glad that I didn't.
David M. (Glendale, CA) (12/09/12)

1861: Historical Fact Meets Mystery and Suspense
As a civil war buff, I truly enjoyed reading Stashower's "The Hour of Peril". Amidst an aura of mystery and suspense surrounding the early plot on Lincoln's life, it was fascinating to read the endless amount of detailed information concerning Allan Pinkerton. For that matter, just like a modern-day thriller, Pinkerton's tireless efforts to stop this terrible plot of 1861 will leave readers at the edge of their seat.
Carol C. (Troy, NY) (12/09/12)

Hour of Peril
"Hour of Peril" focuses on Abraham Lincoln's journey to Washington prior to his inauguration, and the danger he faced from those plotting to assassinate him in Baltimore; it's likely to appeal most to those interested in history and/or the Civil War.

The supporting cast is varied and fascinating, and includes detectives, spies, politicians of various ilk, soldiers, the famous Alan Pinkerton and Mr Lincoln, who - while the subject of the plot - takes a back seat to those working to see him safely to Washington. The technical, political and social details surrounding the journey to Washington draw from many sources and provide an interesting glimpse into the turmoil of the day.

A bit more structure/focus in the editing would be welcome, as there is little sense of suspense or how close the plotters came - or didn't - to succeeding. That said, "Hour of Peril" is an enjoyable read for those interested in 19th Century American history.
Kathleen D. (Hooksett, NH) (12/08/12)

Riveting Historical Mystery
This nonfiction account of President-elect Lincoln's journey from Springfield, Illinois to his inauguration in Washington is truly a page-turning mystery--even though we know the outcome! An excellent background on Det. Allen Pinkerton is provided before we get to the 13 day/1,904 mile journey. The story is made even more compelling as we observe the well-intentioned efforts of a few detectives and a handful of loyal friends as they try to protect Mr. Lincoln from suspected danger in mobs of thousands of people. The epilogue is completely fascinating. I consider the story to be so riveting because it is not just a good fictional mystery but history itself!
Annette S. (Duluth, GA) (12/06/12)

The Hour of Peril
A well researched and very detailed account of a conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln when he was on his way to his first inauguration as the sixteenth president of the United States. Even though the reader knows this plot failed, you learn about Alan Pinkerton's life and how he started his famous Pinkerton Detective Agency, Kate Warne (probably the first female professional undercover detective), and the intriguing plot twists that unfold in this criminal conspiracy to murder Lincoln. The book brings to mind the question: If Lincoln had been killed in Baltimore would the Civil War have started here instead of Charleston, S.C.? Also, you learn of the lingering hostility many Southerners had to the election of Lincoln. If you read The Hour of Peril as history you will be rewarded, but if you want a super thriller you will find some elements of that, but not enough to satisfy your need.
Caryl L. (Williamsburg, VA) (12/06/12)

Hour of Peril
The main premise of this book is interesting and historically correct. Most people would be informed about these events. However, the endless attention to details of characters and events detracts from it's main purpose. Skipping back and forth between places (Harrisburg, New York and Baltimore for example) is confusing.
This belongs in an educational library for history majors or history "buffs" I would not recommend it for public libraries.
Sherilyn R. (bountiful, utah) (12/04/12)

Pinkerton's efforts to protect Lincoln
On a cold winter's day in 1861 Lincoln and two lone bodyguards entered Washington City, capital of thirty four United States. This book detailed the drama, duplicity and secret maneuvers necessary in getting him to the capital to take on his duties as President of the disintegrating union of states.

I liked the book, primarily because it provided information with which I was unfamiliar. But, I also like the characters, Pinkerton and Kate, Lamon and Lincoln himself.

This was a fascinating piece of history and readers of Civil War history will enjoy this book.
Barbara E. (Rockville, MD) (12/04/12)

The Hour of Peril
This book was a fascinating and compelling read. Although I know that Lincoln made it safely to Washington for his first inauguration, this book kept me on the edge of my seat with the unfolding details of the Baltimore assassination plot and the attempts to insure the safety of the president-elect. The contrast between the level of protection for our leaders today and the accessibility and security risks to Lincoln are startling. One often forgets how dangerous and arduous the train journey from Springfield to Washington was in 1861. The author brings all of these vividly to life.

I found Pinkerton's biography to be particularly interesting and found his ideas about detection and his use of women as detectives to be particularly fascinating and truly ahead of his time.The personalities, virtues, flaws and rivalries of all the men and women in this book come vividly to life.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Lincoln, American history, and detective stories.
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