I read Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer in the fall of 2006. My husband has met/seen the author at various functions in the past and so when we came upon this book in a bookstore we both were very curious to read it -- not only because of the very slight acquaintance with the author, but also because of the fascinating subject matter.
Manhunt opens with the morning of Good Friday 1865 and follows the steps of John Wilkes Booth as he plans the assassinations of President Abraham Lincoln and several members of his executive cabinet. As the story progresses the author describes in accurate detail the actions of Booth and his gang as they make their attacks upon their victims leading to injury and in at least one case death. While a few pages are dedicated the details of what happened to the other members in Booth's gang as they made their escapes the focus of the book is upon Booth himself and his escape south.
Be warned both the actual and the attempted assassinations, as well as a few other events in the book, are a little grizzly, but not so bad that I was unable to finish the book. If you can handle a newspaper article about a murder, read a history book about a crime or even or watch a crime show on TV today (which can be a lot worse), you can handle the historical facts surrounding the injuries and deaths to subjects within this book.
I've always loved history and I'm particularly fond of American history. Swanson's book is an excellent weaving of history and story telling, which makes for a definite page turner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although it is historically accurate it does not read as a history book. At 391 pages (excluding notes and bibliography) this book was a relatively quick read -- I think it might have taken me two weeks to finish (this was when I was working full time and didn't have as much time to read). We own a hardback copy, but most libraries should have this on their shelves as it is a recent publication.