In Bloody Crimes, James L. Swanson—the Edgar® Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Manhunt—brings to life two epic events of the Civil War era: the thrilling chase to apprehend Confederate president Jefferson Davis in the wake of the Lincoln assassination and the momentous 20 -day funeral that took Abraham Lincoln’s body home to Springfield. A true tale full of fascinating twists and turns, and lavishly illustrated with dozens of rare historical images—some never before seen—Bloody Crimes is a fascinating companion to Swanson’s Manhunt and a riveting true-crime thriller that will electrify civil war buffs, general readers, and everyone in between.
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: It's April 1865 and General Lee's troops have officially surrendered. Abraham Lincoln, looking forward to rebuilding the nation, celebrates with an evening—his last alive—at the theater. On the other side of the Mason-Dixon Line Jefferson Davis plans to move the Confederate government to North Carolina, away from Union troops that have captured Richmond. Under much different circumstances, both men embark on a dramatic final journey depicted by James. L. Swanson in Bloody Crimes, a gripping account of the weeks following Lincoln’s death and the end of the Civil War. While arguments erupted about where and how Lincoln’s burial should take place, Jefferson Davis—refusing to let the South succumb—attempted to rally his people despite being hunted by Northern troops who suspected his involvement in Lincoln’s assassination. Using relics and key documents of the day, Swanson juxtaposes the travels of Davis and Lincoln, weaving a fast-paced narrative that lures readers in from the get-go. We know that eventually Lincoln makes it to his final resting place and Davis is captured, but along the way it’s hard not to wonder if these two heroic leaders were more similar than perhaps anyone would have guessed. Whether read as a companion to Manhunt—Swanson’s account of the 12-day search for John Wilkes Booth—or on its own, Bloody Crimes is the next great Civil War-era read worthy of the recognition that Lincoln once said we should all strive for. --Jessica Schein
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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