Read "They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance by Anthony S. Pitch Online


The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is a central drama of the American experience. Its impact is felt to this day, and the basic story is known to all. Anthony Pitch’s thrilling account of the Lincoln conspiracy and its aftermath transcends the mere facts of that awful night during which dashing actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the head and would-be assassin LewisThe assassination of Abraham Lincoln is a central drama of the American experience. Its impact is felt to this day, and the basic story is known to all. Anthony Pitch’s thrilling account of the Lincoln conspiracy and its aftermath transcends the mere facts of that awful night during which dashing actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the head and would-be assassin Lewis Payne butchered Secretary of State William Seward in the bed of his own home. “They Have Killed Papa Dead!” transports the reader to one of the most breathtaking moments in history, and reveals much that is new about the stories, passions, and times of those who shaped this great tragedy.Virtually every word of Anthony Pitch’s account is based on primary source material: new quotes from previously unpublished diaries, letters and journals – authentic contemporary voices writing with freshness and clarity as eyewitnesses or intimate participants – new images, a new vision and understanding of one of America’s defining moments. With an unwavering fidelity to historical accuracy, Pitch provides new confirmation of threats against the president-elect’s life as he traveled to Washington by train for his first inauguration, and a vivid personal account of John Wilkes Booth being physically restrained from approaching Lincoln at his second inauguration. Perhaps most chillingly, new details come to light about conditions in the special prison where the civilian conspirators accused of participating in the Lincoln assassination endured tortuous conditions in extreme isolation and deprivation, hooded and shackled, before and even during their military trial. Pitch masterfully synthesizes the findings of his prodigious research into a tight, gripping narrative that adds important new insights to our national story....

Title : "They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781586421588
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 512 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

"They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance Reviews

  • Grumpus
    2019-05-31 00:16

    I bought this book and sat on it for a long time. I could not take it seriously based upon the title. Well, this is truly a case of not judging a book by its cover. This is the most detailed and complete single book I’ve read about Lincoln’s last days, the drama regarding the manhunt, trial, and punishment of the conspirators. And, I have read many. As you can see, I’m struggling with this commentary but know this is the book for you if you want to know all the details regarding the topics I mentioned. There were so many new facts throughout. My recommendation is to not let the title fool you. This is a seriously researched, well-written book.

  • Chrissie
    2019-06-01 20:04

    I am still thinking about Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. I highly recommend reading "They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance immediately afterwards, just as I have done. Wow, there is a lot more to his assassination than we have been told in school! Very interesting stuff. I recommend reading it. It is complicated and packed with primary source information. Lots to think about, even if not all can be proven in a court of law. Who else wanted Lincoln killed?! Trial proceeding in both 1865 and 1867 are thoroughly covered. In the first, eight are accused of trying to kill Lincoln, Johnson, Seward and Grant. Four are hanged, and this is after the death of John Wilkes Booth. You think the story is over, but two years later there is another trial!Due to the fact that there is so much primary source information, due to the density of historical details, it is hard to absorb all the facts in an audiobook format. I ask myself, do I need to go back and reread this? Yes, if I want to remember every name and every date and every reference, but you know I was able to follow the clear line of thought supported by historical facts. I I have no complaints whatsoever with the narration by Milton Bagby. Excelletnin fact. Another difficulty is that several characters had more than one name. Lewis Powell is the same person as Paine / Payne!The last chapter takes you on a whirlwind tour outside America. I was hanging on for dear life following John Surratt’s actions and other possible culprits/theories. No, I am not going to tell you more. I actually got annoyed…… there was so much being thrown at me. I wanted it to go slower. On the other hand it is clearly explained and engagingly written, even if I felt my head was exploding.This book continues where “Team of Rivals” lets off. Perhaps if I had read the paper book it would even have gotten more stars. I am really, really wondering if both these two books shouldn’t be given four stars! They have taught me so much. They keep me thinking. DO read this book immediately after “Team of Rivals”. Should I change the stars?

  • Al Young
    2019-06-12 03:54

    I read some other reader reviews of this book and saw some people were put off by the title, but the title was exactly why it caught my eye on the shelf of Half Price Books. I knew this wasn’t just any other book on Lincoln.I have read plenty of Lincoln and probably wasn’t really excited about buying another one, but something real stuck out with this.The truth is it is a pretty unique addition to the Lincoln canon. Pitch lived in Washington DC and spent 7 years going to the Library of Congress and National Archives. He had the unique position of living 20 miles away and was able to do a level of research that no one else could expect to, because of travel and time restrictions.Because he had access to journals, letters and newspapers of the day, he was able to get as many angles as a modern day biography, but a feat that is rare for an event over 150 years old. I echo what another reader reviewer said, it creates a certain level of ‘worldbuilding’ that is impossible in most historical tomes.Because of his research, we get observations from actual witnesses to the events. We get contemporary opinion. We get insight from the major players and those that are once or twice removed (friends, neighbors).The book takes on the whole story of Lincoln’s assassination. There are the precautions of Lincolns inaugural to prevent assassination attempts. There’s the Booth conspiracy which is handled probably as much as in detail as anywhere, which starts as a plan to kidnap Lincoln and evolves. The cast are drifters, cowards, mentally challenged and the charismatic Booth leading them all. There is the escape from Ford Theater and the Manhunt. There are the desperate doctors trying to save the President. The trial and hanging of the conspirators. The escape and eventual capture of John Surratt who makes it all the way to the Vatican.I consider myself very well versed in this story, but there is so much here to take in. I found so much of it fascinating. For me, it was all interesting, but I learned a lot I did not know- such as Samuel Mudd eventually making his way out of prison and into local politics, and how the Booth family reacted to the assassination. Also, the horrible treatment of the conspirators is pretty shocking. Even if this was a national incident where they were likely guilty, it has to be said they were treated inhumanely.Each of these topics make for compelling reading. There's Seward and Stanton and Grant and Andrew Johnson. There's plenty of lesser known figures as well that you might be introduced to for the first time.It is a fascinating book and adds so much to Lincoln’s story. It’s a huge undertaking and it’s a bit of a lot to take in (400 pages). For me, it flowed pretty well. I thought the pre-Booth assassination rumors were an interesting place to start, and sort of transitions weirdly into Booth’s involvement, but still fascinating. The Booth manhunt is bogged down in details. The only part for me that dragged. I suspect that particular event was action-driven and so was better served to be handled that way as in Swanson’s book. Still, Pitch’s angle is one that again is fascinating and little known. The reward offered for the capture of the conspirators probably created more infighting and negative consequences than its intended goal to get everyone working together. Pitch details how the reward eventually gets paid out, and the politics that went into the decision making.This was a fascinating book as I suspected from the striking cover when I first saw it, but it really was an unique book on Lincoln. It covers a lot of territory that has been well worn but gives it fresh eyes. There is a quote on the book from a USA Today review which makes it sound like it only focuses on the sensationalist details, but that’s the wrong impression. Instead it gives it a level of detail that drops you down in to the 1860s. For all those reasons, I recommend this highly.

  • Jays
    2019-05-21 03:21

    An extremely well-researched, if a bit long-winded, examination not only of the Lincoln assassination, but of the antecedents to it going back to Lincoln's election. As someone who's read a lot about this particular part of Lincoln's life, I was pleasantly surprised to find such a wealth of detail that I hadn't already known. The author's approach to looking at the primary sources of people secondary to the President has filled in a lot of the gaps that other books have missed. There's nothing new in this book on the big details and major plot points of the assassination, but you'll definitely get a much better understanding of Washington during that time and of all the background details that were never fully explained before. If the story of Lincoln's assassination were a novel, this book would be the "world-building" component, helping the reader to really understand the event and how it reverberated throughout the city and the country.

  • Dick
    2019-06-08 00:08

    Good detailed book on the players, events and follow up on Lincoln's assassination. Read or rediscovered some details I had either not read before or had forgotten. Fast read for sure.

  • Yvonne
    2019-06-11 23:56

    This was a thoroughly interesting read for me. The civil war was a bloodbath, yet inevitable it seems. And it wasn't fought that long ago, about 150 years. I find it fascinating that there are photos, letters, media accounts, and first hand historical accounts from the people who were there. So much information, and of course so much information about the great President Abraham Lincoln, who presided over the war against the south. Lincoln was re-elected for a second term right at the end of the war, and was assassinated 4 months into his second term by John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln was beloved, by the people who voted for him, beloved and respected by his political colleagues, friends, union soldiers and generals, and even some southerners. His assassination rocked the United States. People cried in the streets, black people who particularly loved him were devasted en masse. The media cried for vengence, and there was a huge amount of money offered for the finding of his murderer, John Wilkes Booth as well as for the men who plotted with Booth. Booth,who was a nationally known actor as was his brother and father, was obsessed with destroying Lincoln and with bringing justice for the south of whom he was a fanatical son. Booth hated Lincoln with all his being, he "despised Lincoln with a fury, blaming him for all the misery and suffering in the South. He called him a tyrant." "Booth could never forgive the president for undermining the slave holding culture of the south and fomenting expectations among blacks. In Booth's eyes blacks were inferior."So the story unfolds detailing the original plot to kidnap Lincoln, then the sudden change of plan and the shooting of Lincoln in Ford's Theatre by Booth. At the same time and part of the same plot, there was a horrific murder attempt on Secretary of State Seward, and grievous injuries to Seward's two sons who fought the attacker trying to kill their father. Rumours circulated Washington just a few hours later that the President and many heads of state departments had been murdered and the government was helpless. First there was chaos in Washington and then the city was draped in black and mourning of the much loved president began in earnest.The details of Lincolns actual death 14 hours after he was shot, the autopsy, the manhunt, the funeral, the tracking and finding of Booth and four other suspects is riveting. The trial became a national event with the public and celebraties attending. Everyone wanted to the see the four accused of murder and treason. All four were hung at the same time, and included the first woman ever hung in the U.S., Mary Surratt. The hangings were witnessed by the public and journalists alike.The details surrounding this historic event and the description of the times in which this occurred is a treasure trove for history buffs. For example, the coincidental event where John Wilkes Booth's brother Edwin, saved the life of Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, many years previous by lifting him up from train tracks and onto the platform from where he fell. Or how, Booth while in hiding, eagerly awaited the newspapers which he read "voraciously to follow the repercussions in Washington and gauge public opinion of himself....The more Booth read from the papers the closer he came to remorse for harming innocents he had not even targeted... He regretted Seward had not been killed but said he was sorry, from the bottom of my heart, that his sons Frederick and Augustus had been wounded."

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-18 00:57

    I'd have preferred to give this 3.5 stars. This was a good, but not spectacular account of the assasination of Lincoln and the manhunt, trials and executions of the assassins.My major complaint with this book is that there were several times that the author did not sufficiently introduce new people to the story. While I understand that there were A LOT of people involved in this bit of history, it became difficult to keep everyone straight while reading. I found myself having to go back several times to see if I'd missed an introduction, but I hadn't.One of the things I found fascinating about this book was the speed of the judicial process. The accused were found, tried, and in 4 cases, executed within four short months. Given the complexity and importance of the case, I expected a 2012-style trial that lasts for months while the prosecutor and defense present every conceivable argument in favor of their side. The fact that a military trial was conducted seemed to me, based on the evidence provided by the author, a clear violation of the defendents rights. I was also surprised by the lack of involvement on Andrew Johnson's part. If I were Johnson, I'd want to be heavily involved in the murder trial of my predecessor. But Johnson refused to get involved, which I found quite confusing.I'm very curious how a case like this would be tried in a 2012 courtroom. Obviously there would be round-the-clock TV coverage and the trial would last for months upon months. But would the 4 condemned criminals be executed? There seemed to me to be a lack of evidence for at least two of the defendents; particularly Mary Surrait. With Booth killed during the manhunt, it seemed to me that only Payne should have "qualified" for a sentence of death. I'm sure that the speed of the trial and subsequent executions were done simply to put the unpleasant mess behind them once and for all.And lastly, how could John Surrait ultimately win his freedom while his mother got the noose? I'd have liked the author to delve into this in more detail. His account was purely factual and did not go into details as to the thinking behind the judicial systems lack of effort to convict John.

  • Linda C
    2019-06-02 00:54

    Pitch writes an illuminating, documented history of the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, shortly after his second inauguration. The book begins with Lincoln's train ride to Washington to begin his Presidency in 1861 and the fears that he would never make it, because of the death threats and charged atmosphere of the country. Lincoln lived his whole Presidency under threat and had grown fatalistic. He had recurring dreams of his death and he put himself under pressure to end the war and establish guidelines for peace, always fearing that he wouldn't have time to do what was needed. John Wilkes Booth was a cannon poised to go off and only delayed by his need to set a scene that would make his name a legend. His actions and those of his associates are documented here along with the following hunt and trial. After covering the evidence given at the trials, Pitch discusses some of the conspiracy theories and unanswered questions that supported them. He also touches on the possibility of innocence surrounding Mary Surratt, noting its circumstantialness and its resting on the testimony of 2 men. It is amazing the amount of detail that Pitch located through unpublished letters, diaries and journals, including varying views of the same scene seen though various eyes. Very well done.

  • Gwen
    2019-06-07 03:21

    This easy-to-read, well-researched account of Lincoln's untimely death taught me new information about this tragic, turning point. For instance, I never thought about, much less read about, its effects on J. W. Booth's family (all strident Union supporters). I also learned details about the extensive man-hunt that resulted in Booth's death in a barn and the impact of that on the barn's owner and his family. I thought the account of the ensuing trial was the weakest point of the book as the action slowed. I wish the author focused more on the defense lawyer's arguments that the defendants should be tried in civilian court instead of in front of military judges. There is much relevance to the 21st century in that topic. I highly recommend this book to those who want to add to their knowledge of President Lincoln.

  • Amy
    2019-06-15 00:02

    A phenomenal piece of literature! This is a well researched addition to the material surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the events that led up to and unfolded thereafter. I sincerely thought I was going to skim my way through the sections dealing with the hunt for John Wilkes Booth as I have read many other books on this topic including "Manhunt" by James Swanson. Alas, no ... I kept getting "tripped up" by interesting facts that caused me to go back and reread sections paying much closer attention to the details provided. The information surrounding the other conspirators such as Mary Surratt and her son, John was engrossing.I highly recommend this book to anyone who has even a passing interest in the events surrounding Lincoln's assassination.

  • David Horney
    2019-06-15 19:59

    Yeah, it's another Lincoln book, but frankly this isn't your typical Lincolnalia. Mr Pitch spent 9 years in the Library of Congress (lucky bastard) researching his topic. His depiction and description of the travesty of justice that was the trial/execution of those involved in the conspiracy is chilling--Guantanamo Bay in the 1860's. These were bad guys who deserved to be punished, but not like this.

  • Kareem
    2019-06-01 02:53

    Riveting, compelling. Learnt so much reading this book. Had previously read books on the Lincoln assasination trial but none didn't come close to the detail that this author provides. He said he spent nine years on this project and he used that time very well. Was very fascinating to find out about Mary Surratt's last days and all the machinations that occurred for her attorneys to try to stay her hanging.

  • Jeff
    2019-05-21 00:58

    Overall, I was not impressed with this book. There were a few new revelations in this book based upon some recently revealed letters, diaries, etc. found by the author. However, the writing style was not tight and left me somewhat cold. I did feel the trial of the Lincoln conspirators was interesting and the author did a good job covering that. But, I cannot recommend this book.

  • Mark Luongo
    2019-06-11 03:55

    A very detailed before, during and after accounting of Lincoln's assassination. A sure addition to the aficionado's library on the subject. Fact that John Surratt was enrolled as a Papal Zouave is apropos (or coincidental) what with the Pope resigning. Always controversy. Should Mary Surratt have swung?

  • Mark Goodwin
    2019-05-20 02:17

    I really enjoyed this one. It is very thorough as it begins with the actions leading up to Lincoln's assassination, the attempt to save his life, the hunt for the conspirators and ends with the trials. This novel I felt was quite comprehensove and is an important addition to all that has been previosuly written with regard to this important event in American History.

  • Maryann Jorissen
    2019-05-20 01:51

    The book was chocked full of little known facts about the planning of the assassination and all of the people involved. It also shines light on the sense of loss felt by those who loved Lincoln deeply, particularly his children. I enjoyed the uncommon perspective provided in this book.

  • Kathleen
    2019-06-17 03:06

    loved, loved, loved this. Especially happy that the book referenced many primary sources. It was clear and concise, yet told the story in a fascinating way. a recommend for any history buff or just someone who wants the story of Lincoln's assassination, the conspiracy, and the aftermath.

  • Kathy Petri
    2019-06-14 04:19

    Fascinating book.This is a well written book, with exquisite detail. It gave me new insight into the attitudes and lifestyles of the era. I enjoyed it a lot, and also learned a lot from it.

  • Glen
    2019-06-05 20:21

    I have a weird fascination with Lincoln's assassination. Specifically the manhunt for Booth and the trial of the conspirators. I think this makes the fourth on the subject I have read in the last couple of years. This was one of the better ones. Recommended.

  • Ed Fritz
    2019-06-14 00:03

    A Tourr de ForceThis is a gripping story that has been thoroughly researched and brilliantly told. The author has done an exhaustive amount of research and then organized the facts into a marvelous story.

  • Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
    2019-05-24 20:02

    Wow! I learned some news things from reading this book. I enjoyed it. I hadn't actually read a book that dealt with the direct aftermath of the assassination so there was much learning and new things for me here.Well worth the read!

  • Claire
    2019-05-20 22:51

    This book was extremely informative and very well researched. Although a bit lengthy and verbose at times, it was overall an enjoyable read.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-28 02:20

    The author is a friend of mine's dad. Just went to the book launch party at Lincoln's cottage. I am loving it so far - so interesting! I want to read all about Lincoln now.

  • Roger Henley
    2019-06-17 01:01

    Liked it, Very detailed on events.

  • Maggie Maes
    2019-06-02 22:16

    Wish I could give it more than 6 stars, loved this book.

  • Brian Ruberry
    2019-06-05 21:06

    A blow-by-blow account of the Lincoln assassination. With weak writing, managing to suck the life out of one of the most dramatic, momentous moments in American history.

  • Dennis Goshorn
    2019-06-03 03:17

    I read this up through Lincoln's death, but then skimmed the rest. I have read so many books on this topic and I wasn't finding anything new, so I merely skimmed the remainder.

  • Donna Peake
    2019-05-25 20:52

    Poor Tad & Mary. Why do little people do such bad things to a great man? Such a sad thing to happen when the war had just ended.

  • Joseph Durham
    2019-06-10 22:16

    A powerful, detailed accounting of a sad period in American history.