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 Lewis Payne butchered Secretary of State William Seward in the bed of his own home. "They Have Killed Papa Dead!" transports the listener 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 Virtually every word of Anthony Pitch's account is based on primary source material: new quotes from previously unpublished diaries, letters and journals - authentic, contemporary voices writing with freshness and clarity as eyewitnesses or intimate participants, providing new images, a new vision, and new 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.
"No reader will come away unmoved, even at this distance, by anguish about the event. The author elicits our feelings for even the plotters in captivity and on the scaffold. A real page-turner about real history." (Publishers Weekly)
"Pitch has come up with the best title of the year, taken from Tad Lincoln's piteous cries upon learning of his father's assassination by John Wilkes Booth. This is an intense, vivid and moving portrayal of a family (and a country) brutally deprived of its leader." (Chicago Tribune)
"The next best thing to being there is reading Anthony Pitch's They Have Killed Papa Dead!': The Road to Ford’s Theatre, Abraham Lincoln’s Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance. He writes about the desperate efforts to protect the president, who was always in danger, plus the devastating grief and cruel injustice that came after Lincoln’s death." (Christian Science Monitor)
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