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Bloody Crimes

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 09, 2010 – The disparate fates of contending presidents make an odd juxtaposition in this ungainly history of the Civil War's last gasps. Swanson recounts the April 1865 odyssey of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train as it wound through the North, intercutting it with Jefferson Davis's flight south from Richmond through a disintegrating Confederacy. The intertwined narratives lack the drama of the John Wilkes Booth saga Swanson told in his bestselling Manhunt. Lincoln's progress is a vividly described but lugubrious study in Victorian pomp, with giant hearses, trackside bonfires, choruses of white-robed young women, and huge crowds filing past the slow-moldering corpse. Davis's journey is a deluded, lackadaisical picaresque as he tries and fails to rally demoralized Southerners—his own cavalry escort pillaged the accompanying treasury wagons—until his anticlimactic capture by Union forces. Swanson works hard to make Davis a noble (no, he was not captured wearing his wife's dress, just her shawl) worthy of the Dixie-wide memorial procession with which the book closes. But Davis's story is incomparably less resonant than the martyred Lincoln's; in Swanson's best sections, outpourings of grief—Lincoln's own and those of his mourners—make for a moving evocation of wartime loss. B&w photos.

Customer Reviews

Bloody Crimes

I ordered this iBook because I had so thoroughly enjoyed reading James Swanson's earlier book on the search for President Lincoln's killer, "Manhunt".

In Manhunt Swanson makes heavy use of dialog (taken from courtroom testimony and contemporary newspaper accounts of those who assisted Booth in his efforts to evade capture. The reconstruction of eye-witness conversations draws the reader into the story as if it were happening today.

Bloody Crimes is a much more conventional narrative of the assassination of the President of the United States and the national obsession to honor him in death. In the telling that story is contrasted with the simultaneous events surrounding the flight and eventual capture of the President of the Confederate States of America in the closing days of the Civil War.

The books are quite different in this respect. Manhunt reads like an exciting detective novel, and a real page turner. Bloody Crimes reads like a factual presentation of two sad but defining moments in American history. As such, Bloody Crimes may hold appeal mostly among those with keen interest in Lincoln or Civil War history.

Bloody Crimes

Excellent account of the events surrounding the end of the Civil War. The book makes one want to visit all the places where these occurred.

bloody crimes

Excellent book! Enjoyed it from 1st page all the way through to the finish. Detailed accounts about parallel lives on opposite sides of the Union kept my interest the whole way! An 11 on a scale of 1 to 10

Bloody Crimes
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  • $5.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Sep 28, 2010
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 512 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings