From Publishers Weekly
This beautifully produced, groundbreaking volume of over 300 documents, portraits, memorabilia and arcana relating to Lincoln's assassination manages to transcend its immediate historical importance to become something artistically unique. Swanson and Weinberg, both Lincoln collectors and scholars, have assembled a remarkable collection of images relating to the assassination and the fate of its perpetrators (whose guilt some historians question today), including many that have not been easily available before. Some of the more common images include memorial posters of the assassination, wanted posters, newspaper reports and reproductions of plates from books about the event. They also reproduce letters from a young John Wilkes Booth as well as hand-written death warrants issued by the Union army. But the centerpiece of the volume is the collection of photographs taken by Alexander Gardner of six of the indicted conspirators as they awaited trial. These photographs formally posed, beautifully shot and eerily evocative are reminiscent of the work of artists such as Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe. Equally moving and disturbing are Gardner's photographs of the executions by hanging of several of the conspirators photos in which one can see the reality of death. Swanson and Weinberg contribute enough text to place all of these artifacts in historical context and provide an intelligent, informative primer on the topic. (Nov.)Forecast: While the idea of a coffee-table or art book on such a topic might seem grisly, this volume achieves high marks in both categories and will be read and examined by both academics and Civil War enthusiasts.
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“[A] fascinating book.” (New York Times Book Review )
“Even the most serious Civil War devotee can expect to find something new here.” (Chicago Tribune )
About the Author
James Swanson is the Edgar Award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. Born on Lincoln’s birthday, he has studied and collected books, documents, photographs, art, and artifacts from Abraham Lincoln’s life—and death—since he was ten years old.
Daniel R. Weinberg has been the owner since 1971 of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago, which for the past sixty years has bought, sold, authenticated, and appraised original autographs, books, photographs, artwork, and ephemera related to Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and American history. Besides being an advisor to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Weinberg is a director of the Lincoln Forum, the Abraham Lincoln Association, and the Manuscript Society. He is on the executive board of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association and is a past president of the Civil War Round Table. He has helped build some of the major collections in the United States and gives lectures to numerous historical groups.