THE LINCOLN MURDER PLOT

In a dry but meticulous examination of the events leading up to and following Lincoln’s assassination, Zeinert (The Amistad Slave Revolt and American Abolition, 1997, etc.) profiles many of the people involved and refutes 20th-century reinterpretations of evidence that supposedly reveal a Machiavellian conspiracy. In her view the episode was characterized on all sides by bad judgment and too-hasty action; the assassination began as an inept kidnapping plot, hundreds were detained in the ensuing massive investigation, and in the end three men and a woman were hanged on the strength of very questionable testimony. The author goes on to describe a later, abortive attempt to hold Lincoln’s body for ransom, refers to several hoaxes, and finishes with a critical analysis of various modern conspiracy theories. The trial records are largely paraphrased rather than quoted; nearly all of the illustrations are contemporary photos, accompanied by side boxes containing background information or passages from letters and diaries. This serviceable study of a pivotal event in US history is heavy reading, but makes an edifying cautionary tale on the perils of the rush to justice. (index, not seen, notes, bibliography, further reading) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-208-02451-4

Page Count: 110

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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AFTER THE LAST DOG DIED

THE TRUE-LIFE, HAIR-RAISING ADVENTURES OF DOUGLAS MAWSON AND HIS 1911-1914 ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION

This liberally illustrated survival tale makes reading as compelling as any of the recent accounts of Ernest Shackleton’s contemporaneous ventures. Unlike Shackleton, Australian geologist Mawson mounted his ill-starred expedition for (mostly) scientific purposes. Having set up base camp at Cape Denison, soon discovered to be “the windiest place in the world,” Mawson departed with a small party on sledges in November 1912. He returned alone and on foot the following February, having lost nearly all supplies, and both human companions (one, Bredeson hints, to vitamin-A poisoning from a forced diet of sled-dog livers), but surviving a 320-mile trek back. Supplemented by expedition photos of dim, windswept landscapes, and laced with horrifying details—at one point Mawson takes off his socks, and his soles peel off with them—this lesser-known, tragic episode from the golden age of Antarctic exploration won’t fail to give readers both chills and thrills. (roster, time line, resource lists, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7922-6140-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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THE CIVIL WAR AT SEA

In this companion to Portraits of War: Civil War Photographers and Their Work (1998), Sullivan presents an album of the prominent ships and men who fought on both sides, matched to an engrossing account of the war's progress: at sea, on the Mississippi, and along the South's well-defended coastline. In his view, the issue never was in doubt, for though the Confederacy fought back with innovative ironclads, sleek blockade runners, well-armed commerce raiders, and sturdy fortifications, from the earliest stages the North was able to seal off, and then take, one major southern port after another. The photos, many of which were made from fragile glass plates whose survival seems near-miraculous, are drawn from private as well as public collections, and some have never been published before. There aren't any action shots, since mid-19th-century photography required very long exposure times, but the author compensates with contemporary prints, plus crisp battle accounts, lucid strategic overviews, and descriptions of the technological developments that, by war's end, gave this country a world-class navy. He also profiles the careers of Matthew Brady and several less well-known photographers, adding another level of interest to a multi-stranded survey. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1553-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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