Bloody Crimes, by James Swanson 4

Bloody Crimes, by James Swanson, is an example of a book that I would not have gotten to any time soon if I hadn’t been trying the audio thing.  I really liked Manhunt, Swanson’s history of President Lincoln’s assassination and the subsequent hunt for John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators.  But I have so much history on my TBR list right now, that this new one would have taken a serious back seat.  BN had it for 50% off in the audio section.

The production part was pretty good.  iTunes didn’t have the tracks labelled with text the way the Coehlo did, but the transitions were better.  Richard Thomas was the narrator and he was very good.  Although I rather wish he had taken a shot at some Southern accents.  Dude was quoting Jefferson Davis quite a bit.

So.  The book opens by doing some compare and contrast in the lives of Lincoln and Davis.  That was cool.  It follows Davis as he “strategically retreats” from Richmond, and Lincoln as he camps out at the front.  Dispatches from Lee, discussions with Grant and Sherman..all good stuff.

Then we get to surrender and assassination and who got which message and when.  Suddenly, Life Before Internet seems very isolated.  And frightening.

Then funeral arrangements and the “death pageant” at the same time that the army is trying to track down Davis.  Sometimes, the detail was a bit much – like the list of invoices sent to the White House for the funeral. But some of that was probably in list form in the printed version.  Such that I would have glanced right over it on the page.

There were 11 discs for this book and I rather think that is one more than was necessary to tell the story.  But it is a really good story.

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