Linda J. (Manchester, MO)
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.
Diane D. (Blairstown, NJ)
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.
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....
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!
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.
David M. (Glendale, CA)
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.
Kathleen D. (Hooksett, NH)
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!