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Bloody Crimes is a good book, but not a great one. Unlike Swanson's previous book in this series, about the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth and his fellow conspirators, this book does not have an adventure at its core, nor the pacing the a detective-story-like volume is the natural consequence of its subject. I would give the earlier book a "5" had I listened to it (I read it). This book gets a "3." But the book itself is bumpy, uneven. With respect to the flight of Jefferson Davis, there have been better books on this subject. Davis gets short shrift here, little new information. With respect to Lincoln, the new material relates to the funeral and the long trip from Washington DC to Springfield. This is interesting, in its way. In part I was interested because my paternal great-grandmother saw Lincoln's body in Cleveland on that trip (it is one of the few things I know about her).
Although the funeral portion is new, it is also the most uneven part of the book. Long passages describing orders-of-march, planning, peoples' clothing and such are interspersed with the politics of the time & the players (politics & players being the more interesting of these two). Swanson could have done some editing here to help the book move along (of course, one of the weaknesses of audio is that you cannot easily skim through such passages).
If you are willing to tolerate this uneveness, there are good parts too. The excellent narration by Richard Thomas helps to save it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This book is well read, but the writing is not as good as manhunt. Swanson seems to have a personal dislike for Mary Lincoln which is not backed up by facts in the book. Every statement about her seems to be tainted with the idea of her being a bad person, as opposed to the widow or Jeffery Davidson. don't buy it.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is a beautifully written book. It occasionally suffers from stretching out the material to fill a book: there are just too many lists of how much black ribbon was used where. That is its only shortcoming, though. The narration never intrudes but always completes the story.