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BookClubEditor
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Questions for James L. Swanson

Do you have a question for James, not related to any of the discussion topics? Reply to this message to start the conversation.
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ziggyp0099
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

The first topic of discussion is alternate histories. I am curious about what you think would have happened had JWB not been caught and successfully lived out his life in Mexico. How do you think the Union would have been different had the murder of Lincoln not had "justice" delivered?
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aurora
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

Did you do any genealogical research while you were working on the book? I wondered if you knew of any good research sites to find out about Civil War veterans, battles, etc.? I've found a few online, but most don't have much information available.
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jayveep
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

In writing the story, do you feel as if your mission has been accomplished, now that you have completed that part of the newspaper clipping you were unable to read as a child?
How long did it take to put all of your research together to produce "Manhunt"? It has been really hard to put the book down as it makes you curious as to what is going to happen next.Any plans to examine the lives of any of the other characters involved?
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James_Swanson
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

Had Booth escaped to Mexico, I suspect he would have caught a ship to Europe. He might have enjoyed a few years of freedom, but, like John Surratt, ultimately he would have been recognized and captured. But if Booth had not been caught as he was, the North lust for vengence would not have been sated. Perhaps Jefferson Davis would have been put on trial and then executed. Perhaps other Confederate prisoners would have been tried and incarcerated. And perhaps for at least the next year or two, it would have been harder to unite North and South.
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James_Swanson
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

No, I didn't do genealogical research. Finding the descendants was not the focus of my book. The best place to being researching Civil War ancestors is at the National Archives. I suggest you go online and consult their resources.
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ROSIE
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson



James_Swanson wrote:
No, I didn't do genealogical research. Finding the descendants was not the focus of my book. The best place to being researching Civil War ancestors is at the National Archives. I suggest you go online and consult their resources.




The Mormons have fabulous genealogical resources. Alot is availabe online. We have also ordered materials from Salt Lake City that are sent in for use at a local Mormon place of worship.

The Mormons are very interested in ancestry as part of their religious beliefs.

I would try their web site also.
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aurora
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson



ROSIE wrote:


James_Swanson wrote:
No, I didn't do genealogical research. Finding the descendants was not the focus of my book. The best place to being researching Civil War ancestors is at the National Archives. I suggest you go online and consult their resources.




The Mormons have fabulous genealogical resources. Alot is availabe online. We have also ordered materials from Salt Lake City that are sent in for use at a local Mormon place of worship.

The Mormons are very interested in ancestry as part of their religious beliefs.

I would try their web site also.




Thanks Rosie! I'm trying to track down information on my ancestor. Apparently he served the entire length of the Civil War and went through some things that caused him to pack up his family and move to California to leave the east behind. I've heard family members talk about the past and it's made me a lifelong history student and a huge fan of Lincoln. I'll have to try the Mormons site.
Thanks James! I haven't tried the National Archives yet either.
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James_Swanson
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

No, my work is not yet done. There's still so much to discover about the Lincoln Assassination that we do not yet know. As I wrote in Manhunt, Lewis Powell told one of his captors that the government had not apprehended even half of Booth's conspirators. Then who were they? I would still like to discover some of the missing documents, including Gardner's legendary and long-lost photographs of Booth's autopsy. Although of course I will write other books, I don't think I'll ever stop researching the Lincoln Assassination. My next book is about the aftermath of the assassination -- the manhunt for Jefferson Davis and the Lincoln funeral train. I write more about this in the P.S. section of the new paperback edition of Manhunt.
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson


ROSIE wrote:


The Mormons have fabulous genealogical resources. Alot is availabe online. We have also ordered materials from Salt Lake City that are sent in for use at a local Mormon place of worship.

The Mormons are very interested in ancestry as part of their religious beliefs.

I would try their web site also.


Here is the Mormon website addy for geneology. It is one of the worlds biggest free archives of records, all kinds of records. I read way back in the 70s that Alex Haley even went to Salt Lake to use theirs (since they were not online then) to find some of his slave ancestors when writing Roots.

http://www.familysearch.org

There is an incredible amount of information, millions of names on this site from all over the world and its completely free. Good luck with your geneology.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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wburns_kh
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Family Search

I've used that database myself for all kinds of research--although its oriented to genealogists, its also useful for general biographical research.
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wburns_kh
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time for a new thread?

However, since this thread is meant for questions for Mr. Swanson, if you want to post any more on this subject, please start a new thread. Thanks!
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aurora
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

Thanks! That's what I've been looking for. Sorry about the off-topic.

Question:
I've always wondered why Lincoln's son burned his (Lincoln's) personal papers after the assassination? What could have been his purpose? They could have conceivably contained evidence concerning the assassination conspiracy if anyone had warned Lincoln beforehand or if he had been sent threatening letters, etc.
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson/ use of term "assassinated"

James, I find it very interesting how they used the term 'assassinated" back then. When we hear that word today, it means killed, DEAD. If someone today said the president was assassinated today, to us that means he IS DEAD. But as you read in the first of the book, there were messages flying all over saying he was assassinated and "not expected to live" or one in the Seward's house was assassinated "and dead". I was wondering if you had any thoughts on their use of the term versus ours. This is a great book to read and I didnt know any of this. I like the way you put this historical picture into nearly a "nonfictional novel". I am getting a bit lost with some of the names and rereading some parts, but thats cool. Its just that not being a history person, and not knowing a lot of the names of those around Lincoln, I have to go back and forth to remember who is where doing what and thats probably why the way they use the term assassinated, makes me go, wait, did that one die??? I thought he was ok! and read back, only to find then how they used the term. I bet i know the names better when i am done lol :smileywink: but what an interesting useage of the term "assassinated".
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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James_Swanson
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

As far as I know, the story of Robert Lincoln burning some of his father's papers is a myth. It never happened. Indeed, rather than destroying his father's papers, Robert Lincoln donated them to the Library of Congress, where the repose today. Moreover, Lincoln did receive many written death threats, some after his election in November 1860 and after he assumed the presidence in March 1861. Lincoln read these, saved them, and a number of them were found in his desk after his assassination. None of them gave any specific forewarning that John Wilkes Booth was plotting against him.
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James_Swanson
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson/ use of term "assassinated"

I agree. The 19th century usage of "assassinated" is certainly disconcerting. You're right that today we assume it means the victim died. It had a broader meaning in Lincoln's. I'm so glad you're enjoying the book.
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson/ alternative histories

James, one of the questions posed to us by the Book Club editor is on the thread: Alternative Histories. I dont know how much of what is posted here you actually get to read but this is an interesting question and one that can be asked no matter where you are in the book. I would love to hear your oppinion on it since this is the end of the first week's questions (well we can all continue to post to them of course but they were set for this week) since with the studying you have done, you would have great insight into this question. You may want a few more to post about it first, I dont know but whenever you can, I find this a most fascinating question to ask of you.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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maxcat
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

My question to the author is this: who was or were the real heroes of this book? I have posted my thoughts in a thread but since you are the author you might give us insight to the heroics of one or more persons.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Donti
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson

I would love to know the author's answers to all of the discussion questions in the back of the paperback edition of the book!
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James_Swanson
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Re: Questions for James L. Swanson



maxcat wrote:
My question to the author is this: who was or were the real heroes of this book? I have posted my thoughts in a thread but since you are the author you might give us insight to the heroics of one or more persons.




The real heroes include, first and foremost, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The victim of a slanderous smear campaign over the past 70 years to blame him for Lincoln’s murder, Stanton is one of the great unsung patriots of American history. And of course he had had nothing to do with the assassination. Simultaneously, he mourned his friend’s death, investigated the murder and the conspiracy, organized the manhunt for Booth and the others, and brought the not-yet-ended Civil War to a close. I hope that I’ve conveyed my admiration for Stanton in Manhunt. Other heroes include Sergeant Robinson, who was willing to sacrifice his life to save Secretary of State William H. Seward and his daughter from Lewis Powell’s knife. But what do readers think about people like Thomas Jones and Lucinda Holloway? Jones refused to sell out Booth for money – but was it honorable to save the hunted assassin? Holloway gave comfort to the dying Booth, but she did not seek, as Laura Keene did, fame or reward for her act. Is Lucinda, therefore, more deserving of our admiration than Laura?
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