The common wisdom is that John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, was a failed actor and a madman. But the truth is that he was the matinee idol of his time, and the attack on Lincoln was not the act of a maniac, but part of a plan developed at the highest levels of the Confederacy.
In Consider the Elephant by Aram Schefrin, the story of John Wilkes Booth's life and death is told by his brother, Edwin Booth, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his age. The book suffused with the ambiance of the 19th century American theater and full of rich characters. It lays out in detail the path Wilkes took to the top of the celebrity heap, his growing involvement with the Southern rebels, and the development in Richmond of the plot to kidnap and later assassinate the Union's president.
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unfortunate choice of narrator: the author
Interesting take on interesting times
- K. Jarosch