Friday, August 12, 2011

Bloody Times by James L. Swanson

I am a huge fan of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, by the same author. It’s one of my all-time favorite nonfiction books for middle school boys because it reads just like a fiction story with an incredible amount of action and intrigue. Bloody Times is in many ways a companion to Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. It details the days following Lincoln’s assassination from two perspectives—the long, drawn-out funeral train journey that took Lincoln home to rest in Springfield, Illinois, and the actions of Jefferson Davis in the days and weeks immediately following Lincoln’s death. Both stories were mostly unknown to me and are quite interesting from my adult point of view. I don’t think this book will be quite as fascinating to kids as it was to me, though. The stories lack the drama (and violence) of the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth which made the first book so compelling. It’s still definitely worth reading, though, and I would recommend it especially to history teachers and students with an interest in history.

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