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280civil war history reborn Republican party. Not a bad performance for a man who was supposed to be a political innocent. This study ends in 1868 with Grant having positioned himself to be the inevitable occupant of a presidential office he had insisted he would not seek. Great things were expected of that residency—even by those, such as Henry Adams, who would later hold Grant in contempt. Why were so many of these expectations disappointed? Simpson raises in passing a riddle posed by Ludwell Johnson in 1975: If Grant demonstrated so much political savvy during the war, then why was his presidency so bungled? "Was this great gift somehow taken away? Or is it possible he never had it?" A third possibility is unmentioned but should not be automatically ruled out. Is it possible that Grant actually displayed more ability in the White House than he is usually given credit for? To test this proposition, we await Michael Les Benedict's longanticipated sequel to A Compromise of Principle, or to the continuing revelations of each new volume of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, or to a continuation by Simpson of this study into the presidential years. Let us have more. Allan Peskin Cleveland State University Lincoln's Assassins: A Complete Account of Their Capture, Trial, and Punishment. By Roy Z. Chamblee, Jr. (Jefferson, N.C: McFarland and Company, Inc., 1990. Pp. 662. $49.95.) Having read The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies by William Hanchett (1983), I feel it is natural to wonder whether another book on the assassination of the sixteenth president is needed. Happily, it is fair to say that Lincoln's Assassins by Roy Z. Chamblee, Jr., can stand by itself for what it contributes to the study of the Lincoln murder case. This is really several books in one. To begin with, it is a recounting of John Wilkes Booth and gang as they plot and carry out their daring scheme. Then it is an investigation of how Booth and the others were tracked down and apprehended. Where Chamblee makes a real contribution is in giving us lengthy excerpts from the interrogations and testimonies of those who went to trial for the murder of Lincoln. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, the author became interested in the fate of Mary Surratt. He begins his extensive research believing in her innocence. However, by the end of the book, it is clear that she was not as pristine as her defenders have claimed. Whether or not she should have been hanged is a matter Chamblee also addresses. The executions of the four convicted conspirators took place in July 1865, but the book does not stop there. There are intriguing chapters book reviews281 on how anti-Andrew Johnson members of Congress such as Benjamin F. Butler and James M. Ashley tried to implicate the president in the murder plot. Chamblee continues his research into the closing years of the nineteenth century. As late as the 1890s there were still some who claimed to have firsthand knowledge of the Booth conspiracy. Much of the later information was bigoted in nature and tended to implicate the Catholic Church in the assassination. One person who comes off well in this book is Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The time has come to finally put aside the Otto Eisenschimel allegation that Stanton wanted Lincoln murdered. In 1937 Why Was Lincoln Murdered? (erroneously referred to as Why Was Lincoln Shot? by Chamblee) was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and consequently reached more readers than otherwise would be the case. How many people saw the title of that book and came to accept the treachery of Stanton can never be known. The truth is that Stanton was loyal to Lincoln and pursued the investigation of his murder with honesty and dispatch. In light of what Chamblee has to say about Stanton, it is surprising to find no mention of Stanton: The Life and Times ofLincoln's Secretary of War (1962) by Benjamin P. Thomas and Harold M. Hyman in the bibliography while several older and inferior biographies of Stanton are cited. William Hanchett's book, too, should have been included in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 280-281
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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