Saturday, July 28, 2007

Five best: history of assassinations

George Fetherling, a Canadian novelist and poet and author of The Book of Assassins, selected a five best "works that excel in tracking the unsettling history of assassinations" list for Opinion Journal.

One title on the list:
American Brutus by Michael W. Kauffman

After 30 years of research, Michael Kauffman produced perhaps the most penetrating book about the inner workings of an individual assassin. His depiction of John Wilkes Booth is not the usual caricature of a famous but delusional actor who gets off a lucky shot at Abraham Lincoln. Rather, Kauffman's Booth is the author of the 19th century's most complex assassination conspiracy, designed to cripple the country's command structure by eliminating the president, vice president and secretary of state in a single night's work. Kauffman writes reliably about psychology while sparing us the usual guesswork about Booth's mental state, and he does an excellent job evoking the draconian suspension of civil liberties in the desperate days after the assassination, when authorities ran the killer and his conspirators to ground.
Read about the other books on Fetherling's list.

--Marshal Zeringue