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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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Carol Peters (02/08/13)

Introduction to Pinkerton's new Secret Service
I enjoyed being introduced to new characters in this very detailed novel following Lincoln’s pre-inauguration trip to Washington DC. I never realized the danger Lincoln was under as he made his way to Washington. Alan Pinkerton’s secret service agency which included a female agent Kate Warne, were new historical elements to a very tumultuous time.
The author provided great perspective of the political dynamics impacting the decision of how Lincoln would arrive in Washington due to the secessionist climate in Baltimore. Ultimately Pinkerton prevailed and Lincoln arrived in DC by bypassing the city. Unfortunately this decision created a negative view of Lincoln’s character and many, who did not believe in a potential assassination plot, portrayed Lincoln as a coward.
It is a tragedy to think of Lincoln’s tragic death so soon after the Civil War ended. Mr. Stashowever’s novel made me realize how fortunate our country was to have had this gifted man as our President at all.
I would recommend to book clubs to discuss the role of women in the civil war and to review the political climate and impact on society in the 19th century
Mary G. (Purcellville, VA) (01/17/13)

An informative but slow read
"The Hour of Peril" reminded me a lot of Erik Larson's "Devil in the White City". It takes an interesting subject and tells it is such a didactic manner as to make it difficult to slog your way through. I persevered and learned a lot about Allan Pinkerton and the early science of investigation. The reviewer quoted on the front of the book called it a "riveting" book and a "race-against-the-clock thriller." I don't think he actually read the book.
Linda J. (Manchester, MO) (01/14/13)

The Hour of Peril
History buffs will thoroughly enjoy "The Hour of Peril," a little known story about a foiled assassination plot on Abraham Lincoln as he traveled by train from Springfield, IL to Washington, DC for his inauguration. Author Daniel Stashower starts with how Allen Pinkerton formed his famous detective agency, then moves to how he uncovers the plot that could destroy the Republic, should it succeed. He has done a masterful job of narrating and building suspense, even though we know the outcome. My only complaint was the number of characters – I found myself having to go back several times to find out who was who. That aside, Stashower moves the story along, ferreting out the details of the planned attempt, all the while keeping Lincoln in the dark until the last minute, since Lincoln is dead set on meeting the public at each train stop. I predict "The Hour of Peril" will have a good run.
Elizabeth W. (Van Buren, AR) (01/10/13)

The Hour of Peril
An interesting history of the Pinkerton agency, but rather slow and clumsy to read.
Diane D. (Blairstown, NJ) (01/04/13)

Eye-Opening Book!
Since I knew Abraham Lincoln had lived to become President, I was surprised that the book kept me on edge, wondering what would happen next. It is very well written, though I was also surprised that it was also a biography of Allan Pinkerton. I wasn't expecting that!

It was interesting to note that a woman was used as a "go-between"...something I've noticed in books about the Revolution, as well as the Civil War. I guess it was easier for them to move about and be in contact with those who mattered.

This book would be a good one for book clubs, because there is a lot to discuss. Not only would there be discussion on Abe Lincoln and the conspiracy, but also about Allan Pinkerton & Kate Warne.
Jan C. (San Antonio, Texas) (01/04/13)

A plot revealed from the inside!
This book was very very detailed. Knowing the outcome already it was not suspenseful even though the events could have led to the reader feeling suspense. It took me a longer time to read than usual because of the detailed accounts that were too frequently repeated. A timeline in the book might have helped the reader and a map showing the route of the train trip would have been helpful. What I did like was the glimpses it provided into Lincoln's character. The intimate details of the detectives activities made the story come alive. Learning about Pinkerton was interesting.
Karen J. (Bremerton, WA) (12/31/12)

The Hour of Peril tells about Alan Pinkerton, his detective agency and the discovered plot to assassinate Lincoln in Baltimore on his way to his inauguration. It is history told in story form so reads like a novel and not like a history book.
However, I found it disappointing. It's being promoted as a race against the clock thriller and although eminently readable I found it neither gripping nor riveting which is what I was expecting, but rather slow going and had to push my way through it. Interestingly, I found those sections about Lincoln the most fascinating; less so the parts about Alan Pinkerton and the plot.
Rosemary T. (San Antonio, TX) (12/31/12)

The Hour of Peril
At first I did not think I was going to like this book when so much was devoted to Pinkerton's background. However, once the story progressed to the second part I was totally engrossed. It is surprising to me that throughout high school and college I never heard that an attempt had been made on Lincoln's life before his first inauguration. This book is definitely worth reading whether you are a history buff or not.
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