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Blood on the Moon

Cover of Blood on the Moon

Blood on the Moon

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
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Winner of the 2001 The Lincoln Group of New York's Award of Achievement A History Book Club Selection The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is usually told as a tale of a lone deranged actor who struck from a twisted lust for revenge. This is not only too simple an explanation; Blood on the Moon reveals that it is completely wrong. John Wilkes Booth was neither mad nor alone in his act of murder. He received the help of many, not the least of whom was Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, the Charles County physician who has been portrayed as the innocent victim of a vengeful government. Booth was also aided by the Confederate leadership in Richmond. As he made his plans to strike at Lincoln, Booth was in contact with key members of the Confederate underground, and after the assassination these same forces used all of their resources to attempt his escape. Noted Lincoln authority Edward Steers Jr. introduces the cast of characters in this ill-fated drama, he explores why they were so willing to help pull the trigger, and corrects the many misconceptions surrounding this defining moment that changed American history. After completing an acclaimed career as a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health, Edward Steers Jr. has turned his research skills to the Lincoln assassination. He is the author of several books about the president, including The Trial. He lives in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

Winner of the 2001 The Lincoln Group of New York's Award of Achievement A History Book Club Selection The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is usually told as a tale of a lone deranged actor who struck from a twisted lust for revenge. This is not only too simple an explanation; Blood on the Moon reveals that it is completely wrong. John Wilkes Booth was neither mad nor alone in his act of murder. He received the help of many, not the least of whom was Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, the Charles County physician who has been portrayed as the innocent victim of a vengeful government. Booth was also aided by the Confederate leadership in Richmond. As he made his plans to strike at Lincoln, Booth was in contact with key members of the Confederate underground, and after the assassination these same forces used all of their resources to attempt his escape. Noted Lincoln authority Edward Steers Jr. introduces the cast of characters in this ill-fated drama, he explores why they were so willing to help pull the trigger, and corrects the many misconceptions surrounding this defining moment that changed American history. After completing an acclaimed career as a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health, Edward Steers Jr. has turned his research skills to the Lincoln assassination. He is the author of several books about the president, including The Trial. He lives in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 8, 2001
    "Hurrah! Old Abe Lincoln has been assassinated!" wrote a South Carolina girl in her diary in 1865, giving palpable voice to the intense anti-Lincoln sentiments of the slaveholders and the South in general. This well-argued, often exciting account of an organized Confederate plot behind John Wilkes Booth's murder of the president both finely synthesizes traditional Lincoln assassination scholarship and proposes new proof and twists on already acknowledged possibilities. Steers, an avocational historian who has written several other books on Lincoln and the assassination, has a sharp ear for historical discordance and a novelist's eye for illuminating detail. Carefully filling in background (from Booth's relationship to theater and politics to the fascinating, complicated trial of co-conspirator Mary Surratt) for the nonspecialized reader, Steers gracefully disentangles a clutter of characters, historical details and hypotheses to prove his own conspiracy theory. Much of this material will be new to the common reader—a Confederate plot to use yellow fever as a form of biological warfare against the North; the flight to the Vatican of Mary Surratt's son in an effort to escape prosecution after the assassination—but Steers never loses his firm grip on his exciting primary narrative. Although he inclines toward purple prose in his more dramatic moments ("The deed was done. The tyrant was killed. Abraham Lincoln could burn in hell. Sic semper tyrannis!"), his theory is forthrightly and convincingly presented. Less a book for professional historians than U.S. history buffs and Lincoln diehards, this engaging exposé makes for provocative reading. 50 b&w illus.

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    The University Press of Kentucky
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