Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis James L Swanson
In my review of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, (Swenson's other book for young readers) I pointed out that there was no bibliography or source notes included.
Bloody Times doesn’t have source notes or a bibliography (beyond “Bloody Crimes [the adult book this book is based on]...contains an extensive bibliography for further reading) but it does have a Further Reading list, a who’s who, and a glossary. (The glossary words are also bolded in the main text which is nice, but I found their choice of which words to include a bit... odd.) So, the back matter is better than Chasing Lincoln’s Killer but still incredibly disappointing.
The book itself covers two journeys-- the one that Lincoln’s funeral train took and the one that Jefferson Davis took between the fall of Richmond and his eventual capture. I found the Davis sections much more appealing because most of it was new to me, and, let’s face it, evading capture and trying to not end the war is just going to be more action-packed than a funeral train.
The main text didn’t pack and action and oomph of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, mainly because the events didn’t lend themselves to the same sort of storytelling. It won’t be as well-liked by readers.
Most disappointing? Swanson thoroughly debunks the story that Jefferson Davis was wearing his wife’s clothing when he was finally captured. I always rather loved that mental image.
Overall, a solid effort, but won’t win over the non-history lovers like his first one did.
Book Provided by... my local library
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