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BOOK REVIEWS227 his eldest son, Robert, he treated both John Hay and his other Secretary, John Nicolay, who lived in the White House, as surrogate sons. The president placed great faith in Hay despite the fact that in 1861 he was only twenty-three years old. Hay moved very easily among the powerful men of Washington and often carried out sensitive missions for his chief. Thus, we find Hay bringing enrollment books to Florida for citizens to take loyalty oaths as part of Lincoln's Reconstruction initiatives as well as accompanying Horace Greeley to Niagara Falls to deal with rebel peace commissioners. Hay's diary, while often not the only reference, is also a source for such well-known Lincoln Statements as his assessment after Gettysburg that, "If I had gone up there I could have whipped them myself." He also recorded the president's rather scathing denunciation of General Rosecrans after the battle of Chickamaugua, that he "is confused and stunned like a duck hit on the head." Equally important, however, are the more private revelations which had no direct bearing on affairs of state. For example, Hay recounts his own amusement at the president's attempt to converse with some NativeAmericans, "Where live now? When go back Iowa?" or Lincoln's own pleasure in a Richmond Examiner article criticizing Jefferson Davis, which he said showed that Davis had the same kind of troubles with newspapers that he had with ûieNew York World. The reader's admiration for the sixteenth president is certainly enhanced by perusing the diary, perhaps because of Hay's own affection for Lincoln, whose greatness he recognized, long before many others did. With publishing costs escalating out of sight and many presses cutting back on the volumes they can issue, hard choices are being made as to what will be published. Southern Illinois University Press should be commended for not taking the shortsighted view that we already have the Dennett edition of the Hay diary and will simply have to live with its shortcomings. In printing this splendid definitive edition, they have provided a new generation of scholars with access to this essential tool for the study of Lincoln and the Civil War. Thomas R. Turner Bridgewater State College "Right or Wrong, GodJudge Me: " The Writings ofJohn Wilkes Booth. Edited by John Rhodehamel and LouiseTaper. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1 997. Pp. xii, 172. $24.95.) John Wilkes Booth:A Sister 's Memoir byAsia Booth Clark Edited byTerryAlford. (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997. Pp. xvii, 151. $20.00.) These two useful volumes do much to broaden our understanding ofJohnWilkes Booth as more than the talented Shakespearean actor who assassinatedAbraham Lincoln. The collection of Booth's writings, a collaboration of Huntington Library curator Rhodehamel and noted Lincoln collector Taper, is of necessity a thin volume, for most of the assassin's correspondence to his family, friends, lovers, and business associates was destroyed in revulsion for his deed or fears 228CIVIL WAR HISTORY of complicity. Included are letters to boyhood chum William O'Laughlen, the manuscript of a long, undelivered i860 speech castigating abolitionists as "trators" who "should be stamped to death and not alowed [sic] to stalk abroad in any land," correspondence involving bookings, stipends, and investments, a number of 1 864 love letters to Boston teenager Isabel Sumner, an emotional 1865 farewell to his mother, and his April 14, 1865, apologia for the assassination to the National Intelligencer. Copious explanatory notes often replicate, but are on the whole extremely helpful. Alford's reissue ofAsia Booth Clarke's 1874 memoir, published originally in 1938 under the title The Unlocked Book, is even more impressive, both for Alford's lucid biographical introduction and cogent explanatory notes and for the narrative itself and its insights into brother John's boyhood years, before he developed into a celebrated tragedian, Confederate provocateur, and presidential assassin. The composite portrait these volumes paint is one of a handsome, athletic, fun-loving, personable young man—much more likeable than we prefer our presidential assassins. The fifth of six surviving children of eminent English tragedian Junius Brutus Booth and his common-law wife, Mary Ann Holmes, he was raised in Baltimore and...