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James L. Swanson has written for a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He is the coauthor of LINCOLN'S ASSASSINS: THEIR TRIAL AND EXECUTION, and he is a member of the advisory committee of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Mr. Swanson is an attorney and has held a number of government and think-tank posts in Washington, D.C.
Gr 7 Up--This engrossing YA adaptation (Scholastic, 2009) of James L. Swanson's adult title, Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (Morrow, 2006), describes the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln and members of his cabinet, the events of the assassination, and the resulting manhunt for John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators. The author includes considerable information about the vainglorious Booth, who believed he would gain fame and glory for killing Lincoln, and uses a chronological approach that switches between various locations and persons to describe how Booth put his conspiracy into motion when he learned that Lincoln would be at Ford's Theater, and to detail Lincoln's dramatic death and the violent stabbing attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward. Swanson also provides an account of Booth's escape from Ford's Theater, his rendezvous with his co-conspirators, their less-than-glorious efforts to elude the massive manhunt searching for them, and Booth's death in a tobacco barn in Virginia. A discussion of the assassination's aftermath concludes this fast-paced, action-packed account. The sense of urgency that surrounded the assassination and manhunt is effectively captured by the author, and actor Will Patton interprets the text well, using differing tones and accents not just for quotes, but also for Swanson's descriptions of Booth's thoughts and actions and those of the men who searched for and found him. Sure to hold student interest.--Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information