With a solitary shot indigenous a pistol tiny enough come conceal in his hand, john Wilkes Booth catapulted into history on the night the April 14, 1865. The assassination of chairman Abraham Lincoln stunned a country that to be just arising from the chaos and calamity the the civil War, and the president"s untimely death transformed the trajectory that postwar history. But to those who knew Booth, the event was even an ext shocking—for no one could have imagined the this fantastically gifted actor and also well-liked man might commit together an atrocity. In Fortune"s Fool, terry Alford provides the very first comprehensive look in ~ the life of one enigmatic number whose life has actually been overshadowed through his final, infamous act. Tracing Booth"s story from his uncertain childhood in Maryland, characterized by a difficult relationship v his well known actor father, to his successful acting career on stages throughout the country, Alford offers a nuanced photo of Booth together a windy figure, performer, and also deeply troubled man. In spite of the fame and also success the attended Booth"s career—he was billed at one point as "the youngest star in the world"—he discovered himself consumed by the Confederate cause and the desire to assist the south win the independence. Alford reveals the tormented path that led Booth to conclude, as the Confederacy fell down in April 1865, that the only way to revive the South and punish the North for the battle would it is in to killing Lincoln—whatever the cost to self or others. The textured and also compelling rigid gives brand-new depth to the familiar occasions at Ford"s Theatre and the after-effects that followed, finishing in Booth"s capture and death in ~ the hand of Union soldiers 150 year ago. Based on original study into federal government archives, historical libraries, and also family records, Fortune"s Fool uses the definitive portrait of john Wilkes Booth.


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Product Details

Terry Alford is Professor of background Emeritus at north Virginia ar College. The is the author of Prince among Slaves, which was made right into a PBS documentary in 2007.

Table that Contents

IntroductionChapter One: Bright boy AbsalomChapter Two: The MuffinChapter Three: Lions and also FoxesChapter Four: The Union together It WasChapter Five: glowing in the RoughChapter Six: Life"s Fitful FeverChapter Seven: Mischief, Thou art AfootChapter Eight: The Fiery FurnaceChapter Nine: Come Weal or WoeChapter Ten: This One mad ActChapter Eleven: exit BoothChapter Twelve: The critical DitchEpilogue: A Green and Narrow BedAcknowledgmentsNotesNotes on SourcesIndex


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Editorial Reviews

"Alford has produced a deeply and also exhaustively researched monograph that offers a facility portrait of Booth drawn from those that knew the or at the very least thought castle knew him. In ~ the exact same time, the publication contains a wide range of anecdotes and also amusing notes that simply make it a wonderfully written biography of one of the many notorious numbers in American history."—Brian C. Miller, H-SAWH

"Terry Alford"s superb biography of john Wilkes Booth succeeds on many levels. Certainly, Fortune"s Fool filling a significant lacuna in our knowledge about Booth and his role in Lincoln"s assassination....But Alford"s story does much more than just fill a void by synthesizing details on Booth native a selection of heretofore underutilized sources, offering a fresh perspective top top a puzzling and often misunderstood figure, and integrating seamlessly the story of one life into larger historiographic concerns around race, ideology, and also sectionalism in Civil war America."—Scott C. Martin,Journal that the beforehand Republic

"Terry Alford"s Fortune"s Fool is a stunning achievement—it more than fills this decades-old lacuna Fortune"s Fool is extremely recommended to every audiences v an attention in Lincoln, the Civil battle era, or biography in general It is an overwhelming to imagine this no being the definitive biography ofJohn Wilkes Booth for years to come."—The phibìc Carolina historical Review

"As Alford"s excellent publication makes clear, Booth to be a celebrity in his very own right, and his high file heightened the drama of the deed: imagine if Elvis Presley had assassinated President man F. Kennedy."—Foreign Affairs

"Fortune"s Fool is so deep researched and also persuasively suggested that it have to stand as the standard portrait for years...Readers will certainly know how this story ended, however Mr. Alford"s recounting of Booth"s flight and the Army"s manhunt is a tourism de pressure of continual drama, never losing its breakneck pace and offering frighten revelations."—Harold Holzer, The wall Street Journal

"A vivid, gripping portrait of the charming, impetuous, and troubled Booth, who ill-fated and ultimately murderous path often seems to strangely echo the doomed Shakespearean personalities he play on stage."—Library Journal

"The "first full-length biography" of Abraham Lincoln"s assassin offers much nuance and also complexity come the killer...Alford sifts through the an ext balanced, credible resources of those that knew Booth before the assassination to flesh out a surprisingly engaging portrait that the brilliant young actor and also deeply riven sympathizer to the southern cause...Alford paints some intriguing shades that gray in this elucidating portrait."—Kirkus Reviews

"Exemplary...Alford"s book examines Booth"s movements and also interactions in greater depth than any type of of its predecessors, drawing a clear photo of the mental spiral that brought about his plot to kidnap—and, as soon as that failed, come kill—the president."—The Boston Globe

"Based top top meticulous and exhaustive research, composed in lively prose spiced with wry humor, terry Alford"s Fortune"s Fool is a tour de force by a masterful historian. This eagerly awaited story exceeds the high expectation so long entertained by Civil battle buffs, Lincolnians, and also lovers ofAmerican history in general."—Michael Burlingame, author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life

"Alford"s masterful story charts the psychological room in which Booth seems to have actually zigzagged for most of his life, between imaginative sensitivity and delusional self-inflation."—Peter Birkenhead, Los Angeles review of Books

"Fortune"s Fool is a better, an ext comprehensive, and much more consistently fascinating effort at explaining john Wilkes Booth than any type of yet written."—Steve Donoghue, Open letter Monthly

"Fortune"s Fool takes its location as the important Booth biography, i m sorry is indispensable reading for everyone wanting to completely understand the assassination and the actor that committed it."—Thomas R. Turner, Civil battle Monitor

"The an initial full-length biography on the subject, Alford"s work absolutely measures up in quality. His appraisal of Booth is no judgmental nor quixotic, if his portrayal of that is wealthy in intimate details that include dimension to the guy long recognized simply together a crazed killer."—Michael G.Williams, America"s Civil war Magazine

"Alford"s biography...paints a variegated portrait of one of the many infamous figures in the background of the joined States...Reflecting painstaking research, Alford"s work-related is an immersive experience into Booth"s life on both sides of the stage curtain...Alford additionally provides readers with a penetrating look into the assassin"s psyche...Booth emerges as a tortured and conflicted soul, an actor on history"s phase who never totally understood his role as hero or together villain."—Christopher C. Moore, Journal of southerly History

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