John Wilkes Booth's brash personality emerges as his life unfolds in this unique account - from his childhood as the son of one of America's foremost actors, to his own career as a theatrical star, to the development, implementation and aftermath of his plot against Lincoln. By 1865, at the age of 26, Booth had much to lose: a loving family, hosts of friends, adoring women, professional success, and the promise of yet more fame and fortune. Yet he risked everything to orchestrate a daring conspiracy to abduct Lincoln, take him south and barter him for Confederate prisoners of war. The Civil War effectively ended before Booth could carry out his plan, so he assassinated the president, believing him to be a tyrant who had turned the once-proud Union into an engine of oppression that had devastated the South.
Through a combination of lively narrative and detailed daily logs, this book gives a day-by-day account of Wilkes' complex life - from his birth May 10, 1838, to his death April 26, 1865 - and offers a new understanding of the crime that shocked a nation.