The iconic anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.
In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country's most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of history's most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.
For five months in the winter of 1860–1861, Americans did not know for certain that civil war was upon them. Some hoped for a compromise; others wanted a fight. Many struggled to understand what was happening to their country. Robert J. Cook, William L. Barney, and Elizabeth R. Varon take approaches to this period that combine political, economic, and social-cultural lines of analysis. Rather than focus on whether civil war was inevitable, they look at the political process of secession and find multiple internal divisions—political parties, whites and nonwhites, elites and masses, men and women. Even individual northerners and southerners suffered inner conflicts.
The authors include the voices of Unionists and Whig party moderates who had much to lose and upcountry folk who owned no slaves and did not particularly like those who did. Barney contends that white southerners were driven to secede by anxiety and guilt over slavery. Varon takes a new look at Robert E. Lee's decision to join the Confederacy. Cook argues that both northern and southern politicians claimed the rightness of their cause by constructing selective narratives of historical grievances.
Secession Winter explores the fact of contingency and reminds readers and students that nothing was foreordained.