The Civil War and true crime - two of my favorite topics. I'm surprised no one ever wrote a book like this before.
The book covers a number of stories that you are probably already familiar with - the Lincoln assassination, Andersonville, and the Lawrence KS massacre. There are also some that I, personally, had heard of but didn't know much about - Earl Van Dorn's murder, the Ft. Pillow massacre, and Benjamin Butler in New Orleans. There were also some great stories about some things I had never heard of - a Yankee counterfeit scheme, a Rebel plot to burn down Manhattan, and the (bogus) story of the female marauder Sue Mundy.
Unfortunately, there were also a couple of stories that were so obscure that I'm really not sure why they were included - a white family murdered in Tennessee by some freed blacks and a NC woman who shoots her former slave. I took some points off for these, as well as some typos and missing fact checks.
What I really didn't like about this one, though, was a real bias toward the South. I personally have no biases myself (I consider myself a Southerner), and really don't mind the average Civil War buff leaning to one side or the other, but I expect more from a book, and was really surprised how blatant some of this was (especially given the author's from Michigan).
For example, all of the well-known stories I mentioned above are given a pro-Rebel spin with the author seeing the trials as rushes to judgement at best and witch trials at worst. Here, for example, is what he says about the trial of Henry Wirtz, the Andersonville commandant:
"About a week after proceedings began, Wirtz's attorney had had enough of the circus trial."
He also wonders if Wirtz was a "murderer or a martyr." He takes a similar tack for some of the South's worst marauders. These include Champ Ferguson and even Bill Quantrill, with Buhk calling the latter a "bushwhacking cavalier."
I think the author was simply trying to drum up some controversy and drama to help sell the book. Unfortunately, that was totally unnecessary, as the true crime he presents is quite interesting in itself.