Friday Jun 19, 2020

27 - April 14th, 1865


About this episode: 

Eight decades ago, popular historian Bruce Catton, and journalist/author Jim Bishop wrote works that profoundly affected my life and future profession: teaching. Catton's This Hallowed Ground and Bishop's The Day Lincoln Was Shot were both written in such dramatic prose that the events, people - indeed, the very era itself - came alive for me. Even today, both authors and their works reinforce my passionate belief that history is alive, relevant, and should be conveyed as a story. For this episode, it is with great reverence and pleasure that I take my lead from Bishop's book, which was published in 1955, sold over 3 million copies, and was translated into 16 languages. He began his research for the day Lincoln was shot in 1930. Then, after two decades had passed, in 1953, in an effort to expand his research, Bishop began reading seven million words of government documents. The result: an absolutely riveting hour-by-hour account of Abraham Lincoln's last 24 hours. In respectful tribute to the two authors that most influenced my professional coming-of-age, and stoked my drive to recount history as a story, I dedicate this effort. With Bishop's work as my central point of reference, here: hour-by-hour, from seven in the morning of April the 14th to 7:22 and 10 seconds the next morning, is the story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.


Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode: 

John Wilkes Booth

William H. Seward

George Atzerodt

David Herold

Lewis Paine/Payne

Mary Surratt


Get The Guide:

Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.


Producer: Dan Irving

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